I was writhing in anticipation of who would light the flame during last night’s opening ceremonies and had nightmares thinking of all the bad choices that could have been made. Names like Celine Dion (shudder), Anne Murray (part of the flag carrying group ceremony in B.C. Place), Steve Fonyo (as if!), Ben Johnson (was he even allowed to watch it on TV??) or a number of nausea-inducing possibilities ran through my head as I waited for the big moment.
A group comprised of Bobby Orr, Julie Payette, Anne Murray, Romeo Dallaire, Jacques Villeneuve, Barbara Ann Scott, Betty Fox (a nice touch) and Donald Sutherland marched into B.C. Place with the Canadian flag and delivered it to the RCMP to hoist up the pole. Then came Rick Hansen, Catriona LeMay Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene Raine and Wayne Gretzky who circled the giant shards of ice that made up the Olympic flame. After a short technical snafu (one of the ‘ice shards’ failed to move up and into place leaving only three shards to make up the flame cauldron) all five lit the flame after which Gretzky was trucked to the harbour, flame in had to light the official flame burning beside the Olympic media building. A handy location for the world’s press.
Gretzky is the only guy that should have lit the flame, as much for his amazing hockey career as well as his humanitarian endeavors over the years. I’m not a hockey person and don’t play or watch the sport unless I have to (a real oddity for a born and raised Canadian!) but appreciate Gretzky’s contribution to the sport and his relatively scandal-free career over the years which has endeared him to Canadians and the rest of the world. He’s a good face for Canada and I’m proud to see that he was chosen for the job. Nicely done Wayne.