Cauldron lighting demands greatness - Metro US

Cauldron lighting demands greatness

Keep this in mind when thinking about the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

Few rules govern the process.

In the past we’ve witnessed an archer, a flying ski jumper and a gymnast circling the roof of a Bird’s Nest, as they performed the solemn ritual. There’s been more than a little gimmickry reflected in the flames that have presided over previous Olympic gatherings.

Not this time. Only greatness will do.

Here’s a theory to fuel the debate as all Canadians rekindle the fires of their Olympic passion. There will be not one, but four torchers on the day and they will concurrently gather around the cauldron to set a celebration of Canadian Olympic history ablaze.

They will be iconic figures spanning generations in a land of ice and snow. Included in their ranks will be the defining Olympians of a winter nation that dearly values its finest skiers and skaters.

“The Great One,” will be there.

How could Wayne Gretzky, our seminal hockey player not be? He is synonymous with the game and the country and by assembling the team that delivered the first men’s hockey gold in 50 years in 2002, Gretzky forever cemented our loyalty.

Nancy Greene will make the cut.

She spawned a fascination with skiing because of her antics as “The Tiger” and by winning gold at the 1968 Olympics. Every member of this year’s alpine team emerged from the Nancy Greene Racing League that keeps the sport strong in Canada.

“Canada’s Sweetheart,” Barbara Ann Scott will grace the proceedings.

The only Canadian winner of individual figure skating gold, Scott’s legacy endures. And she won in 1948 at St. Moritz as the world was healing the wounds of war. Barbara Ann Scott is a lock in my books.

As is speed skater Catriona Le May Doan.

She was known as “The Fastest Woman on Ice,” the only Canadian Olympian, winter or summer, to have won gold medals in consecutive Games. Le May Doan’s address to the IOC in 2003 swung the vote and helped get Vancouver/ Whistler the Olympics in the first place.

Together they’ll do it —our greatest skier, figure skater, speed skater and hockey player.

They are four strong symbols of the country and the Olympics who, like moths to the flame, will gather the world around the roaring cauldron’s light on opening night.

– Gemini Award winner and author Scott Russell is the Host of CBC Sports Weekend seen Saturday afternoons. A 20-year CBC Sports veteran, he has covered a variety of professional and amateur sports including nine Olympic games and numerous world championships.

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