An Austrian Betsy Ross ...

Monika and the TPE flag © EliaschNobody knows whether it was in fact Betsy Ross who made the first American flag for George Washington. But after continuing your read you will know with absolute certainty who the expert seamstress behind the first Chinese Taipei flag (hand) made in Austria is.

The problem was one of protocol. World Latin organiser Wolfgang Eliasch needed a flag that was not available anywhere in Vienna for it to be carried by Leo Lin and Ya Yen Chen, TPE, in the athletes' parade on Saturday.

If you should be wondering what the "TPE" stands for, it is the crucial part of the protocol that makes the flag an absolute "must have" for Wolfgang. The Olympic country code stands for Chinese Taipei which - in world sports - is the politically correct name for the Republic of China (ROC) - aka Taiwan. The 1979 Session of the International Olympic Committee came up with it, the ROC government formally accepted it in 1981, and the late IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch suggested a flag to go with it at the same time.

It is actually the flag of the "Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee" that is flown at all international sporting events ever since. But finding one in Vienna for the 2012 World Latin proved impossible. Enter Monika! A gifted seamstress and DanceSport enthusiast comes to the rescue! Wolfgang made a plotter print on paper, Monika did the rest - by hand. Olympic rings, intricate patterns, all sewn onto white cloth! Amazing!

A matter of protocol - and cross-strait politics - was handled by an inspired artist.

 

  

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