Latter-day Saints in the Paralympics: Swimmer carries country’s flag during opening ceremonies

Swimmer Lourdes Alejandra Aybar was one of the flag bearers for her native Dominican Republic during the opening ceremonies for the Paralympic Games.

She held onto the flag that was fitted into a holder on her wheelchair, as she waved exuberantly when the Dominican Republic team came into National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, Aug. 24. 

Swimmer Lourdes Alejandra Aybar, seated right, was one of the flag bearers for her Dominican Republic during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Paralympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.
Swimmer Lourdes Alejandra Aybar, seated right, was one of the flag bearers for her Dominican Republic during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Paralympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. Credit: Screenshot via nbcolympics.com

She shared her gratitude and emotion on Instagram when she was announced as one of her team’s flag bearers. 

Aybar is one of a dozen athletes connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints competing in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

The 32-year-old industrial engineer, who is 4 foot 3 inches tall, has brittle bone disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as crystal bone disease. She swims in the 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly, in the divisions for those with physical impairments. 

Meet the Latter-day Saint Paralympians competing in Tokyo

On social 

Team USA’s goalball player Daryl Walker, who has albinoism and is blind, shared a selfie on Twitter before going to the opening ceremonies. 

Australia’s Todd Hodgetts shared on Facebook several photos as he was “soaking up the atmosphere in the Paralympic village in Tokyo.” Hodgetts throws shot put in the F20 division, which is for those with intellectual disabilities.

Runner Margarita Faundez, of Chile, who is legally blind, shared a photo from the Olympic Village on social media and also shared a pre-ceremony photo in her Instagram stories.