Figure skater Joannie Rochette named Canadian flag-bearer for closing ceremony

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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The Canadian athlete who persevered after the death of her mother and made it to the medal podium has been given the honour of carrying the host nation's flag into Sunday's closing ceremonies at the Vancouver Olympics.
Figure skater Joannie Rochette won a bronze medal less than a week after her mom Therese died of a heart attack.
Canadian chef de mission Nathalie Lambert said Rochette was selected for her grace and courage under pressure.
The 24-year-old native of Ile-Dupas, Que., said she was surprised she was chosen because she was a bronze medallist and so many other members of the Canadian team had won gold. But Rochette said she was extremely proud to carry the flag.
"Yes, it's been a tough week for me," she said. "But I want to walk into that stadium as a celebration . . . and a big smile on my face. I want to celebrate with my teammates."
As she posed for photos during a news conference Rochette said: "It's a huge honour to have this flag in my hand."
Earlier it was short-track speedskater Charles Hamelin who was accepting flag-bearer congratulations at a party that drew many Canadian medallists.
Asked about carrying the flag, Hamelin said: "Yes, thank you very much." His choice was confirmed by teammates. Two federal government sources also confirmed Hamelin as flag-bearer prior to the COC's denial.
Prior to the news conference to name the flag-bearer a COC spokesman denied Hamelin had been offered the position.
Hamelin won double gold in the 500 metres and the men's 5,000-metre relay.
The decision was made by Lambert and her assistants Joe Juneau and Steve Podborski, with the formal announcement set for today.
Long-track speedskater Clara Hughes carried the Canadian flag at the opening ceremonies.

Organizations: Vancouver Olympics, COC

Geographic location: Ile-Dupas

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