What's it like to be your country's only competitor at the Winter Olympics?

Updated 9:23 AM ET, Thu February 22, 2018

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Pyeongchang (CNN)To be your country's only hope, the sole focus of attention. No-one else to carry the flag or share the burden of expectation. It can be a lonely life, it can be stressful. But, in the end, the glory is all yours.

As she stood in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium, about to head into a brutally cold February night, 16-year-old Mialitiana Clerc's heart was beating faster than ever before as she heard the roars of 35,000 spectators.
She knew millions around the world would be watching the opening ceremony, witnessing her walk around the circular track with Madagascar's flag, seeing her wave towards the flashbulbs lighting up the arena like fireflies in the half light.

I'm ready to showcase on a larger scale what I'm capable of

Here she was, among some of the world's finest athletes, yet Madagascar's only representative in Pyeongchang. She was all alone.
"It was very strange to take the flag," the Alpine skier, and the first woman to represent the African nation at a Winter Olympics, tells CNN Sport.
"I did practice holding the flag. Before the flag ceremony started I did a quick TV interview. I was thinking, 'I'm about to start one of the biggest thing in my life and I'm not ready for this.'
    "I was alone, but I don't really care about it because I'm lonely sometimes in this sport so it's not a problem for me.
    "I was stressed before they called out Madagasca