Francesco Friedrich and Claudia Pechstein, who have seven Olympic gold medals between them, have been chosen as Germany's flagbearers for the Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2022  ©DOSB

Germany have chosen speedskater Claudia Pechstein and bobsledder Francesco Friedrich to carry the flag in the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games here tonight. 

They were selected following a public vote from a shortlist which also included lugeists Tobias Wendl and Natalia Geisenberger, men’s ice hockey captain Moritz Muller and snowboarder Ramona Hofmeister.

The 49-year-old Pechstein is set  to compete in her eighth Winter Olympics.

"I've won everything there is to win in my career and to be able to carry the flag for Team Germany as a record Olympic participant makes me very proud," Pechstein said.

Her first Olympic appearance came 30 years ago in Albertville.

These were the Games when a reunified German team appeared for the first time following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Pechstein had been born in what was then East Berlin.

Pechstein went on to win five consecutive gold medals and two silver and bronze to give her a total of nine medals in an illustrious caree, although it was tarnished  after she was accused of blood doping in 2009 and banned from all competitions for two years.

She has always denied that she did anything illegal. 

The 31-year-old Friedrich won double bobsled gold at Pyeongchang 2018 and has been a dominant figure in the sport for a decade.

"It's a great feeling and an incredible honour to lead the German team in there with the flag," Friedrich said.

"That is at least equivalent to the gold medal that we can win here."

The Flagbbearing duo for the Opening Ceremony at the National Stadium was chosen through an online vote by members of the public and German Olympic team members in a poll conducted by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB).

More than 120,000 members of the public took part in the vote.

"It was a difficult choice for the athletes of Team D and the German public, because all six candidates deserved to carry the German flag,"  Miriam Welte, the DOSB vice-president, said.