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I would decline flag, says rower Ginn
Jim Morton
21:49 AEST Tue Jul 24 2012

Rowing great Drew Ginn has ruled himself out of the competition to be a London Games flag-bearer, believing there are better candidates in the Australian team.

Ginn has won three gold medals from each Olympics he's competed in but doesn't believe he's worthy of the honour to lead his country in the opening ceremony on Friday night.

The 37-year-old had been rated second favourite in the most recent market by a betting agency at $2.60, behind beach volleyballer Natalie Cook ($2).

But Ginn has never marched before and had told Australia's chef de mission Nick Green, his former Oarsome Foursome crewmate, some time ago not to consider him.

"I would decline the flag, reason being that I don't think I'm deserving of it," he said on Tuesday.

"I think they are other athletes who are more deserving of it: Anna Meares in my mind, (fellow cyclist) Stuart O'Grady, even (equestrian) Andrew Hoy and he's done it before, and athletes like Natalie Cook.

"It's been asked of me a few times and I'm not getting frustrated with it but I'm looking forward to the opening ceremony being done and dusted and everyone knowing who the flag-bearer is."

Cyclist Meares and swimmer Leisel Jones are seen as strong chances following Cook's calls for a woman to carry the flag for the first time in 20 years.

Ginn is gunning for a slice of history in London as another gold will make him Australia's first athlete to win Olympic titles at four separate Games, and was 1976 flag-bearer Raelene Boyle's pick.

An early start to rowing competition, more than an hour out of London at Eton Dorney, on Saturday morning with his men's four crew is also a major factor for Ginn.

Few rowers march at the opening ceremony, but James Tomkins did carry the flag in his sixth and final Games four years ago.

"It is a big honour for the country," Ginn said.

"James did it in 2008 in Beijing and it's a big deal for the person who leads our whole team but for me it's not something that I'm interested in.

"I'm here to do a job and which is row with my four on the water.

"Competition in the first week (of the Olympics) makes it very difficult for us to (march) and we're a fair way out.

"For me travel is a big imposition, Beijing obviously having a ruptured disc.

"All the travelling is a big concern and I'm fairly pragmatic about that."

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