Above: Denny Morrison collected his 1000-metre long track speed skating medal, paying tribute to the generosity that got him to the podium. Eric Sorensen explains.
TORONTO – It took a very gracious, dare-we-say Canadian gesture to catapult speed skater Gilmore Junio to the top of the public’s list for flag-bearer in the Sochi closing ceremony.
Calgary’s Junio gave up his spot in Wednesday’s 1000-metre speed skating race to his teammate Denny Morrison, in what he called the “best interest” of the Canadian team since Morrison ranked 35 spots higher in the world than he did at that distance.
And Junio’s instincts were spot-on—Morrison won the silver medal, just 4 hundredths of a second behind gold medallist Dutch skater Stefan Groothuis.
Morrison, a 28-year-old B.C. native, took to Twitter to thank his teammate, in a post that earned more than 2,000 retweets:
And then introduced a hashtag that would unofficially launch a campaign for Junio to be named Canada’s flag-bearer of the closing ceremonies:
Many Canadians agreed:
Junio responded with typical Canadian humility:
But is it too early to decide on who will carry the old pole?
Moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau is also a fan-favourite; he says his brother Frederic—who has a disability that confines him to a wheelchair—is his inspiration for the two gold medals he’s won (in Sochi Monday and in 2010 at the Vancouver Games).
Team Canada hockey captain Sidney Crosby’s name is also often tossed around as a contender, not to mention eight-time World Champion short track speed skater Charles Hamelin, who won two gold medals at the Vancouver Olympics and the gold in the men’s short track 1500-metre on Monday.
There’s also the Dufour-Lapointe sisters: Justine, who won the gold in women’s moguls on Sunday, just ahead of her sister Chloe, who won silver. (A third Dufour-Lapoint sister, Maxime, failed to make the final but shared in her family’s happiness).
So tell us in our poll and comments below: Who do you think should be Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony?