STEVENSON 'HONOURED' TO READ ATHLETE OATH AT GAMES' OPENING CEREMONY
World champion Sarah Stevenson's Olympic Games began last night after landing a key role in the spectacular ceremony to mark the opening of London 2012.
From a cast of thousands, and in front of her Majesty, the Queen, Britain's most decorated taekwondo star stepped forward to read the traditional Olympic Oath on behalf of all competitors attending the Games.
And Stevenson, attending her fourth Olympics, 12 years after debuting in Sydney, admitted to uncharacteristic nerves.
But it all went right on the night for Doncaster born star, going for gold in the -67kg weight division later in the Games..
"I was shaking more than I do when I go out to compete," laughed the Manchester based fighter, accompanied to the glittering showpiece by husband and coach, Steve Jennings..
"But it was such a massive honour, I couldn't say no, could I?
Stevenson was asked to recite the traditional 54-word Oath following a ballot of fellow Team GB competitors.
Indeed, she just missed out to four time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Chris Hoy, to carry the Union Jack flag into the magnificent Olympic Stadium.
"To even be shortlisted to carry the flag and come second to Chris Hoy was amazing in itself.
"But the second placed person got to read out the Oath. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"When I'm 50 or 60 and got grand kids I can say to them 'I read out the Oath out at the London Olympics.'
"So, I was really excited about it."
But, with typical candour, Stevenson, looking to improve upon her Beijing Games bronze medal, admits her accolade came on the back of double personal tragedy.
So mum Diana and dad Roy, were very much in her thoughts on Friday night.
"I expected it to be emotional," she agreed.
"But I hope athletes voted for me because of the strength of character I have shown since everything happened: winning the world title, qualifying for the Olympics and then undergoing major surgery.
"I do owe it to my mum and dad because I know I wouldn't be in this position but for what has happened to them..
Stevenson, attended her first opening ceremony since Athens 2004, follows in the footsteps of former World War II Spitfire pilot and 1936 Olympic hurdles silver medallist, Don Finlay, who spoke the Oath at the 1948 London Olympics.
The words have only altered slightly since then. And Stevenson read out: "In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."