Vote: Canada's flag-bearer
Plenty of worthy choices for closing ceremony honour
The Canadian Olympic Committee has a problem on its hands.
A good problem.
With the Sochi closing ceremony fast approaching, the COC needs to nominate a flag bearer to lead its athletes into Fisht Olympic Stadium on Sunday evening. Trouble is, there's a lengthy list of worthy candidates.
Austria has its alpine skiers, the Netherlands has its speed skaters, and Norway has its Nordic events. Canada, meanwhile, has landed on the podium in an array of disciplines on its way to a medal total that currently stands at 24.
Early in the Games, it was the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Justine and Chloe, who grabbed the spotlight with gold and silver medals, respectively, in the women's moguls competition. Their feat was soon matched by Alexandre Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury, who finished first and second in the men's moguls, with Bilodeau repeating the gold medal he won at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Short track speed skater Charles Hamelin followed with a win in the 1,500-metre event, and Dara Howell topped the podium a day later in the ladies' ski slopestyle final, but those wins marked the start of a temporary gold-medal drought for Canada.
Fortunately, it was during this quiet spell that the feel-good Canadian story of the Games emerged. Speed skater Gilmore Junio, who qualified for the 1,000-metre event in Sochi after teammate Denny Morrison slipped and fell at the Canadian trials, generously gave his spot to Morrison ahead of last week's Olympic race because he believed Morrison had a better shot at a medal.
Morrison went on to win the silver medal in the 1,000 metres, and Junio's selfless act makes him a contender to carry the maple leaf on Sunday -- perhaps even in tandem with Morrison, who added bronze in the 1,500.
Other potential flag bearers include repeat bobsleigh champions Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, curling gold medallists Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs, ski cross winner Marielle Thompson, and double figure skating silver medallists Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Then there's Marie-Philip Poulin, the hero of the most dramatic women's hockey game ever seen at the Olympics. Poulin sent the Canada-U.S. title game into overtime with her tying goal in the final minute, then scored the golden goal in OT to cap Canada's thrilling comeback victory.
Poulin's teammate Hayley Wickenheiser was Canada's flag bearer for the Sochi opening ceremony, so the four-time Olympic gold medallist is almost certainly out of the running.
The decision is expected to be announced on Saturday, but you can cast your vote in our poll right now to tell us who you think should carry the Canadian flag at the closing ceremony.
Don't see your choice in the poll? Let us know your write-in candidate in the comments section.