Kara Winger carries American flag at Olympics: ‘This is just joy’

Team USA voted for Clark County athlete to carry flag into stadium at closing ceremony

Kara Winger said she was humbled.

And Clark County should be grateful to Kara Winger, for representing Vancouver on an international stage.

Winger, a four-time Olympian javelin thrower who graduated from Skyview High School, brought out the American flag during the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games on Sunday in Tokyo. 

Kara Winger, shown here in the 2019 Pan Am Games, carried the U.S. flag during the closing ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. The Skyview High School graduate and four-time Olympian plans on competing for one more year. Photo courtesy Kara Winger
Kara Winger, shown here in the 2019 Pan Am Games, carried the U.S. flag during the closing ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. The Skyview High School graduate and four-time Olympian plans on competing for one more year. Photo courtesy Kara Winger

NBC cameras focused on Winger, her eyes sparkling, and even while wearing a mask, a smile was obvious. The graphic came on the screen. Kara Winger. Vancouver, WA. A four-time Olympian.

“I can’t even describe it. I have been in tears for days, but this is just joy,” Winger said while being interviewed by NBC as she walked into the stadium, carrying Old Glory. 

Winger recalled going to the opening and closing ceremonies in Beijing 13 years ago. This event was different, of course, because there were no fans. Still, it was special. She also competed in London in 2012 and in Rio de Janiero in 2016.

This was the third time she has been in Japan, she said, and she made a point to say that she loves the country.

After the closing ceremony, she went to her Instagram account to share more.

“For my few new followers, let me introduce myself by saying, yes, of course I got sauce on my jacket immediately upon return to the Village dining hall,” Winger wrote, making fun of herself.

The Americans were in all white for the closing ceremony.

“Going home tomorrow,” she wrote. “First stop, dry cleaners.”

She thanked her Team USA teammates and USA Track and Field for the honor of carrying the flag.

“I’ll never top it,” she wrote.

In a later post, she appeared to reaffirm her plans for the future. In early 2020, she told Clark County Today that her goal was to to compete in the Olympics one more time, then train for another year in hopes of making it to the World Championships, which will be held in the United States. The World Championships, originally scheduled for 2021 in Eugene, Ore., will now be in 2022. Winger, who won three state titles at Skyview as Kara Patterson before her stellar college career at Purdue University, wants to end her career in the Northwest. 

“A very lucky 13 years of Olympic experiences. As the flame was extinguished last night, I felt such peace,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’m excited for one more season, but so pleased with how this Olympic chapter closed. All the gratitude!”

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