Wayne Gretzky

Irish-born Winter Olympics CEO to pick Wayne Gretzky to light the flame?


Wayne Gretzky

Irish-born John Furlong is keeper of the flame on the identity of the person who lights the Olympic flame in two weeks.  Furlong, the Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, is playing his cards close to his chest. "We are determined to keep it a surprise,” he told reporters recently.

Furlong wants that person to have the same impact that Muhammad Ali had in Atlanta in 1996, a powerful world-renowned figure who will instantly have global recognition.

But there are not that many Canadians who fit the bill.

All over Canada fans of various candidates have been flooding Facebook sites, demanding that Furlong and his committee pick their favorite candidate

Among them are Betty Fox, a truly inspirational figure and mother of one-legged marathon runner Terry Fox, who has more than 120,000 members on her Facebook site demanding she be the person.

Senator Nancy Green Raine, a well known politician and former Olympic skier, is also seen as having strong credentials, while disabled athlete Rick Hansen is also thought to be in the mix, as is Guy Lafleur, the great Montreal Canadians captain.

However, it seems certain that Furlong will choose someone else.

Here is what the Tipperary-born Furlong says: "When the moment happens, I hope that everyone watching will say, 'Of course, naturally. How could it have been anyone else?'"

Who else could that be but Wayne Gretzky? 'The Great One' himself a former Olympic gold medalist in hockey.

There is no greater icon for Canada, and he is a name and face known all over the world.


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