Wearing the signature knee-length shorts of his homeland, Zander Kirkland, A07, who was an All-American sailor at Tufts, carried the flag for Bermuda at the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.
Jesse Kirkland, Zander’s younger brother and Bermuda’s sailing team skipper, had been chosen to lead Team Bermuda in the athletes’ parade on July 27, in front of 80,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium and more than a billion TV viewers around the globe.
In a tribute to Zander, who will crew for his brother in the 49er class, Jesse told the Bermuda Olympic Association that he would prefer to see his older brother have the honor of leading the team. The brothers are the first Bermudian skiff sailors to qualify for the Olympics. In the 49er class, sailors race a two-person, high-performance dinghy.
“I was so focused on keeping the flag kind of streaming and was looping it the whole time and trying not to get nervous by looking out in the crowd,” Zander told Bermuda’s daily newspaper, the Royal Gazette. “The whole experience kind of left me speechless at the end of it, and I can hardly remember doing the lap [around the stadium].”
Another Tufts alumnus, Mark Mendelblatt, A95, is competing in his second Olympics for the United States, skippering a Star boat, a keel craft, in races that began July 29 on Weymouth Bay off England’s south coast. A three-time All-American at Tufts, Mendelblatt competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics in the Laser class and placed eighth, prompting U.S. Sailing to name him Athlete of the Year for the second time. While at Tufts, Mendelblatt won a single-handed national championship.
You can follow Kirkland and Mendelblatt in their Olympic sailing events, by going here.