11 Jul 2012

Sharapova confirmed as Russia's flag-bearer

1:41 pm on 11 July 2012

The former tennis world number one Maria Sharapova will be Russia's first female Olympic flag-bearer at the London Games which start later this month.

Russia broke with tradition by naming Sharapova, who also won Wimbledon (2004), US Open (2006) and Australian Open (2008) titles, for the rare honour.

Since the Russians first took part in the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki as part of the Soviet Union this great honour was traditionally given to famous male athletes such as wrestler Alexander Karelin and swimmer Alexander Popov, who have won numerous Olympic titles.

The 25-year-old will be making her Olympic debut in London after failing to qualify for the 2004 Games in Athens and missing the 2008 edition in Beijing with a shoulder injury.