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Who Should Light The Cauldron At Opening Night Of Olympic Games In Vancouver?

I'm trying to be as diplomatic about the Steve Simmons quote as possible. Sure, it's Vancouver's choice on who they pick, and Trevor Linden is one of our major local heroes. But what has he done at the national or international level? Well, he did score the tying goal in Nagano against Hasek and the Czechs in Nagano when it appeared nobody could. That was a beauty moment hearing Bob Cole scream like that. But the Canadians sagged out of the medal round after that loss. Linden's charitable work in BC is both inspiring and amazing in itself.

Let's look at the bigger picture though, beyond Simmons and his underhanded shot at the Canucks' history. There are other people who I'd pick before Linden. But before I say who, check out who has all lit the cauldron in the past. There are some great stories there. Muhammad Ali (Atlanta 1996) and the Miracle on Ice team for the USA (Salt Lake City 2002)? Absolutely brilliant on their part. A person born on the day Hiroshima was bombed (Tokyo 1964)? Moving stuff.

More after the jump.

This isn't about BC vs Ontario, so Simmons, who has a bit of a valid point in my opinion, needs to tone it down and stop stirring the pot. This is about CANADA, yes. It's also about BC, who fought hard to get the games here. But I think the torch lighting needs to inspire an entire nation. So with that in mind, here are my picks (not in order):

-Betty Fox, mother of Terry Fox. Born in Winnipeg raised in Van. This concept is gaining momentum.

-Rick Hansen. The Man in Motion. Born in Port Alberni raised in Williams Lake.

-Marc Gagnon, from Chicoutimi Quebec, short track speed skater has won 3 golds and 2 bronze.

-Cindy Klassen, speed skating, from Winnipeg, has won more medals than any Canadian.

-Burnaby Joe Sakic. Mario Lemieux may have been captain of Team Canada in Salt Lake City, but it was Joe Sakic who dominated and destroyed the Americans in the gold medal game. He was named the tournament MVP. No kidding! That was a game I'll never forget.

I think all these people, should have some part in the final leg of the torch run up onto the podium. But if I had to choose one over the other, it would be Betty Fox or Cindy Klassen. How about both at the same time? Bingo. I'm in. Then you have a BC flavor AND a Canadian flavor all tied into one beautiful moment.

This of course is just my opinion. There are other ideas for providing inspirational ways to officially open the Winter Games. In the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, a 12 year-old promising Calgarian figure skater named Robyn Perry lit the torch. The gesture was done to symbolize youth and inspire future Olympians. Not bad. I think we should up the ante though. 60,000 people at McMahon Stadium and 6 billion people worldwide watched her do that. The torch-lighting is a monumental moment in Olympic history.

I'm not catering to a Leaf-loving journalist or any that follow him. I'm talking about a defining moment not only for British Columbians, but for Canada. Let's get this party started right, and then kick some butt, Canada!