Short-track speedskater Kim Boutin will be Canada’s flag-bearer at the Closing Ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
Boutin was the obvious choice to carry the maple leaf after the Quebec-native medalled in all three individual short-track events at her first Olympics; silver in the 1,000 metres, and bronze in both the 500m and 1,500m. Boutin is the first Canadian woman and the second woman in Olympic history to achieve that feat.
But it’s not Boutin’s first medal that makes her the perfect flag-bearer for Team Canada, nor her second, or indeed third. The honour bestowed is not deserved solely because she won more medals than any other Canadian in PyeongChang.
It’s the way the 23-year-old handled herself throughout the Games. Amid controversy, she stayed focused and continued to represent Canada the best way she could. On the podium, on and off the ice, Boutin’s Olympic experience was a rollercoaster ride, that will now, deservedly, end on another high.
After South Korean star Minjeong Choi was disqualified in the 500-metre final, fans blamed Boutin, who was subsequently bombarded with hundreds of death threats on social media labelling her a cheater and calling her bronze medal ‘dirty.’
The abuse forced Boutin to set her social media accounts to private while the RCMP, IOC and Speed Skating Canada investigated.
It would be easy to feel disheartened and even resentful after the celebration of your first Olympic medal was tarnished by such a slew of hate but Boutin didn’t give up. She rose above it with class and determination, and went on to win two more precious pieces of Olympic hardware.
Boutin is a role model for anyone who has ever been bullied online, faced obstacles, or anyone with a dream to accomplish something big.
The Olympic rookie has since opened her Twitter account to the public to express her feelings after being chosen as Canada’s flag-bearer.
C'est un grand honneur d'être nommée porte-drapeau pour la cérémonie de clôture. It's a great honor to be named Canada's flag-bearer for the closing ceremony.
@gregkolz#speedskating #speedskatingcanada #teamcanada #canada #canadaflag pic.twitter.com/2O5EQLtAbp
— Kim Boutin (@kimbtin) February 24, 2018
She has made Canada proud with how she has held herself throughout these Games, and when Team Canada announced that she would carry the red and white on Sunday, the Twitter-world came out to show their support.
— Mark Weist (@markweist) February 24, 2018
So happy to see Kim Boutin as the #ClosingCeremony flag bearer. I voted for her. Why? Because even when she was receiving death threats after her bronze win, she rose above it with class, like a true Canadian!#TeamCanada #Olympics #CBCOlympics
— Hillary Verardi (@putabowon) February 24, 2018
After the wrath of Internet Trolls for her "Surprise" Bronze ('cause she DQ'd SK & awarded HERSELF the medal), then regrouping to win Silver & ANOTHER Bronze…I think Short Track Speed Skater @kimbtin #KimBoutin is a PERFECT Choice for Canada's Flag Bearer! #Olympics2018
— Jacquie G (@jezziebezzie) February 24, 2018
@cbchh Kim Boutin, our flag bearer, is a role model for everyone who has experienced online bullying! She remained focused and positive and won 2 more medals despite threats online! @cbcsports #trueolympian #Bravo
— Audrey Murphy (@CaperGran) February 24, 2018
— Jennifer Kolz (@jennifer_kolz) February 24, 2018
@kimbtin Congratulations on the honour of being our flag bearer for the closing ceremonies! Canada is proud of you!!
— Jay Feth (@Jay__Feth) February 24, 2018
So many impressive candidates for the job, but what a terrific choice! Elite performances by an Olympic rookie under very difficult circumstances given the on-line backlash she had to overcome. Felicitations @kimbtin !! https://t.co/OSHgVlpOW3
— Mitch Peacock (@MitchPeacock1) February 24, 2018
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