Source: China Daily

08-08-2008 09:44

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Yao Ming wasn't even sure if he would take part in the Olympics after surgery to fix a broken left foot.

Chinese NBA basketball star Yao Ming carries the Olympics torch on the Tiananmen square in Beijing on August 06, 2008, two days ahead of the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Yao will carry China's national flag at Friday's opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics, a senior Chinese sporting official said. (China Daily)
Chinese NBA basketball star Yao Ming carries 
the Olympics torch on the Tiananmen square in 
Beijing on August 06, 2008, two days ahead of 
the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. 
Yao will carry China's national flag at Friday's 
opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics, a 
senior Chinese sporting official said.(China Daily)

Now he's back in full swing with the Chinese basketball team and poised once again to carry his country's flag during tonight's Opening Ceremony on home soil.

Yao, inarguably China's biggest sports hero, was last night given the honor of leading the home team into the 90,000-seat Bird's Nest.

Also flag bearer at the Athens Games, the 2.26m NBA all-star center will become only the second Chinese athlete to enjoy the double honor following former basketball player Liu Yudong.

"Yao is the best choice for China," said Cui Dalin, deputy Chef de Mission of the Chinese delegation, said at a press conference at the Main Press Center yesterday.

"He is China's best athlete not only for his excellent basketball skills but also for his outstanding sportsmanship, professionalism and his good public image.

"He represents all the Chinese athletes in a perfect way."

Earlier this week, the 28-year-old Yao said he wanted to lead his country into another Olympic campaign.

He said the honor was even greater after he was selected ahead of a number of young athletes, including national treasure Liu Xiang and basketball prodigy Yi Jianlian.

"Of course I want to be the flag bearer again," said Yao. "I have experience. It feels good."