July 26, 2012
LONDON, England -
Two former Stanford swimmers, Austria's Markus Rogan and Kenya's Jason Dunford, will serve as flagbearers during Friday's Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Rogan '04 has been given the honor of carrying Austria's flag while Dunford '09 will carry the banner of Kenya.
Rogan '04, a 2004 double-silver medalist lives and trains in Southern California, and will lead the contingent of 69 Austrian athletes into Wembley Stadium for the Ceremony. NBC's television coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. PT and continues to midnight.
Rogan, 30, will compete in the 200-meter individual medley and the 4x200 freestyle relay. At Stanford, Rogan won two NCAA titles - in the 200-yard backstroke and 200 IM in 2002, and medaled in the 100- and 200-meter backstrokes in Athens.
Rogan said he was "feeling pride and humility," at being bestowed the honor.
The Austria triband flag (three equal horizontal stripes of red, white, and red) is the second-oldest flag in use by any nation. It was first used about 1230, with only the Danish flag (1219) in existence longer. traces back to the coat of arms of the medieval Babenberg dynasty.
Dunford '09 will carry a flag despite being one of only five non-track and field athletes among the 52-member Kenya contingent.
Dunford, 25, is the first Kenyan to win an African swimming championship, the first to win a Commonwealth Games medal and the first to qualify for the Olympics without a FINA wild card invitation. This will be the second Olympic Games for Dunford, who briefly set an Olympic record in the 100-meter butterfly in the semifinals in Beijing in 2008 and will be competing in that event in London.
Dunford said that his ultimate ambition is to open a swimming academy in Kenya. He was a 14-time All-America at Stanford and won four Pac-10 titles.
The Kenya flag -- a horizontal tricolor of black, white-edged red, and green with two crossed white spears behind a red, white, and black traditional Maasai shield - was first used in 1963 based on a similar design during the country's struggle for independence from Great Britain.