Jackson: Beyond my wildest dreams

Lauren Jackson says nothing could top leading the Aussie team out at the opening ceremony.

Women's basketball star Lauren Jackson has been given the honour of being Australia's flagbearer for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

Chef de Mission Nick Green made the announcement at the official team reception just outside Olympic Park and in view of the main stadium.

The function was attended not only by the cream of Australia's sporting talent, but business leaders such as Frank Lowy and James Packer.

There was wild applause when Green read out Jackson's name, with her Opals team-mates embracing her on the way to the stage.

The 31-year-old veteran of four Olympics told the crowd it was a life-changing honour.

"I hope I can lead the team the best way I can," she said.

Jackson has scaled the heights of her sport and stands atop the basketballing world.

She has won Olympic silver three times, along with two WNBA championships and also been named league MVP three times.

But she says this eclipses all of those accolades.

"This is something I never imagined in my wildest dreams I could achieve," she said.

"Tomorrow night, even tonight, is just the proudest moment of my life, no doubt about it.

"To be named the leader of the team, and to be able to walk in front of Australia at an Olympic Games is something that I never, in my wildest dreams, would have imagined I could achieve.

"I can't think of anything that would ever top this. Obviously a gold medal would be awesome, but I feel like this is something that will never happen again."

She says she was informed in a private meeting with Green on Monday.

"Nick actually called me into his office earlier in the week and I thought I was in trouble," she said.

"He said 'Can you keep a secret? You're the flagbearer'."

"I said: 'Are you serious?'"

'Wonderful' qualities

Green said Jackson, from Albury in New South Wales, was the ideal candidate for flagbearer and team captain.

"To me, Lauren is an unassuming athlete with wonderful leadership qualities on and off the court," he said.

"She has all the qualities I admire in a leader and that is the person our team needs as a captain here in London.

"She is admired by her team-mates and respected by her opponents. I have watched her play for many years.

"She has a never-say-die attitude, a trait that I admire very much."

Jackson now follows in the footsteps of some Olympic legends.

Oarsome foursome rower James Tonkins was on hand to hear the result and reflected on his experience bearing the flag in Beijing in 2008.

"In all honesty it was one of the proudest moments of my life," he said.

"To lead a team full of some of the best athletes our country has produced."

And his advice to Jackson?

"Just try and take it all in, to walk into a stadium of 90,000, just to remember it," he said.

Jackson says she will have no problems.

"It's just going to be a moment I'll never forget," she said.

"This will never happen again.

"[Friday] night is going to be the proudest moment of my life."