Frontline medical worker and Australian pistol shooter Elena Galiabovitch has helped raise the Olympic flag after Patty Mills and Cate Campbell partnered to lead the country into Tokyo's Games.
Representing Oceania, Galiabovitch was one of six frontline medical workers who commenced the Olympic flag relay on Friday before the flag was raised in the Olympic Stadium where it will fly for the duration of the Games.
Galiabovitch will compete in the women's 10 metre air pistol and women's 25m pistol, but has spent the past year in Melbourne either in COVID-19 hospital wards or drive-in testing clinics.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would ever help carry the Olympic flag at an opening ceremony," said the 31-year-old doctor.
"Not only am I representing the continent of Oceania and all its athletes, but I'm privileged to represent Australia's Olympic Team, the 15-member Australian shooting team, and all frontline medical workers who've done such a magnificent job under very difficult circumstances over the past 18 months."
Earlier, NBA champion Mills became the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag, with swimmer Campbell leading a 63-strong team into a stadium where only a few hundred dignitaries were scattered in the stands.
"It feels great. All the emotions are running through me right now and I think they'll come flooding out soon," said Mills.
Asked how he felt about his landmark honour, he added: "It's absolutely a special moment and a massive privilege to represent a certain group of people, but at the same time be representative of all Australia.
"It's great to be able to share this moment with Cate. All of us having the privilege to take it all in and inspire all Australians."
Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron while earlier in the night the 11 Israeli Olympic team members killed by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics were remembered at a Games for the first time with a moment of silence.
Australian Associated Press