Ash Barty photo at Tokyo Olympics sends Aussie fans into frenzy

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Ash Barty and Patty Mills, pictured here posing for an iconic photo at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ash Barty and Patty Mills posed for an iconic photo at the Tokyo Olympics. Image: Getty/Basketball Australa.

Where else but the Olympic Games could you get an iconic photo of two of Australia's most high-profile athletes.

Ash Barty and Patty Mills provided exactly that on Friday ahead of the opening ceremony in Tokyo when they posed for a photo before entering the stadium.

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The Indigenous superstars were all smiles as they put their arms around each other for the happy snap.

"Australia's finest," Basketball Australia wrote while tweeting the photo.

The iconic image sent fans into a frenzy on social media, with many commenting and liking the photo.

Basketball star Mills became the first Indigenous athlete to carry the flag for Australia at an opening ceremony, doing so with swimmer Cate Campbell.

Unfortunately for the NBA star the historic moment was somewhat overshadowed by a Canadian commentator mistaking him for a woman.

Patty Mills and Cate Campbell lead Australia's contingent

Mills and Campbell led a contingent of 63 Aussie athletes at the opening ceremony, while hundreds more teammates watched from around the world.

The pair, ahead of their fourth Olympic campaigns, shared the honours on Friday night after the International Olympic Committee permitted countries to choose two flagbearers.

Wearing shorts and short-sleeve button-up shirts with ties, they walked into a near-empty stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions, with only several hundred dignitaries and fellow athletes there to acknowledge.

Patty Mills and Cate Campbell, pictured here carrying the flag for Australia at the opening ceremony.
Patty Mills and Cate Campbell carried the flag for Australia at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Australia's chef de mission Ian Chesterman and deputy chef de mission and three-time Olympian Susie O'Neill walked behind them, along with Sam Stosur competing in her fifth Olympics and Melissa Wu and Joe Ingles in their fourth.

They were followed by Olympians in order of their Olympic appearances, with Mills' Boomers teammates and the Opals forming a bulk of the marching squad.

Athletes who remained at the village performed their own march before watching the ceremony from the stadium on a big screen, like their fellow athletes already based in other event cities throughout the country.

"We have always prioritised performance first and the athletes understand that," Chesterman said.

"For many it is simply not possible to take part in the ceremony (due to competition logistics), but to have so many march is wonderful.

"This is a special team. Each athlete has endured a difficult path to these Games - and they have responded.

"To have so many march and so many others participate in a special ceremony back in our allotment where they will march around the Village as a group, shows how proud they are as Australians to march behind those Australian flags."

with AAP

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