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Austria missing a flag-bearer after Alpine skier Raich delays Sochi trip

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Giant Slalom

SOELDEN, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 27: (FRANCE OUT) Benjamin Raich of Austria competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Giant Slalom on October 27, 2013 in Soelden, Austria. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom

Austria is currently missing a flag-bearer for Friday’s Opening Ceremony for the Sochi Olympics.

The person previously at that post, Alpine skier Benjamin Raich (pictured), has instead delayed his trip to Sochi after choosing to skip the super combined event on Feb. 14 to set his sights completely on the giant slalom (Feb. 19) and slalom events (Feb. 22).

Raich was a double-gold winner at Torino in 2006, claiming both GS and slalom. He also has two other Olympic medals from Salt Lake City in 2002, both of them bronzes (combined and slalom).

“I will fully focus on the giant slalom and the slalom, so I will travel to Russia one week later than initially planned,” Raich said in a brief AOC statement.

However, lacking a flag-bearer should be a brief episode for Austria; the AOC says they’ll have a new one in place no later than Thursday.

Austria is sending its largest-ever Winter Olympics squad to Sochi with 130 athletes in all.

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