Speculation abounds that Betty Fox or Wayne Gretzky could be the final torchbearer tomorrow.
The mother of Canadian icon Terry Fox and the Great One topped an informal survey of 50 people conducted downtown Vancouver, in addition to each having Facebook support groups dedicated to them.
In Metro’s survey, 12 people wanted to see Betty Fox light the Olympic cauldron, while nine picked Gretzky. The rest of the votes went to Rick Hansen, who carried the torch two days ago, Michael J. Fox and Cindy Klassen.
Vancouver-based environmentalist David Suzuki was also mentioned and there have been rumours that someone of First Nations ancestry would do the honours.
Gilbert Felli, the director of Olympic Games for the International Olympic Committee, said a great effort is made to guard the secret.
“Now people are, ‘Oh, the magic, the magic, who is it going to be? It’s going to be this one, it’s going to be this one, it’s going to be this one.’ So that’s what makes the magic of the Olympic Games,” he said.
“I think it’s fantastic to have a few secrets.”
On Facebook, a 129,000-strong group for Betty Fox says her son “was raised in Vancouver and did more for Canadians and this planet than we will ever know. Let’s give his mother another beautiful memory of who and what Terry meant to us.”
The Gretzky gang extol the Great One’s virtues, including that he is recognizable around the world, a former Olympian and that he was executive director of the men’s hockey team that ended a 50-year gold medal drought for Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
At a promotional event yesterday, Gretzky aggressively avoided reporters, which only served to fuel speculation he’s the final torchbearer.
With files from The Canadian Press