U.S. Marine Corps veteran and alpine skier, Jon Lujan selected as U.S. flag bearer for Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia
As an athlete, the highest achievement you can earn is a spot on your countries Olympic or Paralympic squad. U.S. alpine skier, Jonathan Lujan, held one of the highest honors of those 692 athletes participating in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In a vote by fellow Team USA athletes, Lujan was selected as the flag bearer for the U.S. during the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games held on Friday, March 7, 2014.
A resident of Littleton, Colorado, Lujan is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. In a statement to the United States Olympic Committee, Lujan noted that “Obviously the flag to me represents our country, and ever since we became a country that flag has stood in every battle and every holiday, and it’s draped over the coffins of our fallen military. So there’s a lot of meaning behind that flag. To be able to carry it on an international level of this magnitude is unbelievable.”
Lujan is no beginner in carrying his country’s flag in front of a large crowd, as he carried the stars and stripes during President George W. Bush’s visit to Camp Pendleton, California in 2003. “I have such a deep-rooted love for the country having been in the military, and then being able to carry that flag, it’s a pretty huge honor,” Lujan added “When the president of the United States salutes the flag that I’m carrying, it means so much.”
Before getting involved in the Paralympic Movement, Lujan served in the Marine Corps for more than eight and a half years. During a mission in Iraq in 2003, Lujan suffered two ruptured discs in his back. Unfortunately, the surgery to repair the discs in 2005 damaged Lujan’s spinal cord causing temporary paralysis below his waist. Although he is able to walk, he has permanent nerve damage in his lower legs that restricts movement, leaving him with no feeling below the knees.
Lujan turned to alpine skiing in 2008 and was named to his first U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team in 2012. He has been a top performer ever since and a role model to future Paralympians, children with disabilities, and injured service men and women in the process.
Join us in congratulating Lujan in this honor as Team U.S. flag bearer. You can help cheer on Jon and the rest of Team U.S.A. Winter Paralympic Games squad by purchasing an American Flag to show your patriotism.