Almost as cherished a tradition as the Olympic flame is the ritual of trying to guess who will be the last to carry it and light the Olympic cauldron. As usual, Olympic organizers have kept this a closely-guarded secret. Which only makes it more fun to guess.
Will it be Celine Dion, soaring in Vegas-style on a high wire? I hope not, for everyone's sake. My money is on Wayne Gretzky, "The Great One," who never won gold as a player but was manager of the Canadian squad who took gold in Salt Lake City in 2002. He is by far the most accomplished and popular Canadian athlete.
Two sentimental favorites are Rick Hansen and Betty Fox. Hansen is a Paralympics athlete and tireless advocate for spinal cord injury prevention and research. Fox is the mother of Terry Fox, who at eighteen set off to run across Canada after cancer forced the amputation of one of his legs. Tragically, he died of cancer before his inspirational journey was completed, but his story-and his mother-has for decades captivated Canadians and raised millions for research.
Decorated speed skater, and current Olympian, Cindy Klassen has also been mentioned. And some momentum flickered for Sidney Crosby, though he has a scheduling conflict: an NHL game tonight against the Rangers in Pittsburg-puck drops at the exact time the Opening Ceremony is set to start. So he's a long shot.
I have to think that all of the secrecy this time around is merely a ruse to distract from the obvious: Gretzky will light the flame.