(ANSA) - Rome, December 16 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Wednesday handed the Italian flag to Armin Zoeggeler and Andrea Chiarotti, the country's flag-carriers at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Sochi. Zoeggeler, a luge specialist, has won five individual Olympic luge medals in a career stretching back almost 20 years, including gold medals he claimed in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Turin in 2006. The 39-year-old, known as the 'cannibal' for his ability to gobble up trophies, has also been crowned world champion six times. Star forward Chiarotti, the captain of Italy's sledge hockey team, is a pioneer of the Italian team which won the European championship and made its Paralympic debut at the 2006 Games in Turin. The team finished seventh at the Vancouver 2010 Games. "You are the pride of Italy, be drive by patriotic spirit," the head of State said in message to the Italian Winter Olympic and Paralympic teams.