Vancouver, Canada (Sports Network) - The most recognizable number in Canada should be expecting a call.
Wayne Gretzky deserves the honor of lighting the Olympic Flame to kickoff the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
Despite much debate and secrecies leading up to the announcement Friday, this one's a clear empty netter.
Gretzky was a childhood phenom and hero alike. He is a former Olympian, whose character would make the toughest of critics proud. A star, whose legend crossed geographical boundaries far beyond his nation. He is a symbol of sports, success and humility.
Wayne Gretzky is among Canada's most recognizable athletes.
"The Great One" has donned the red and white as a player and as a coach. He was infamously passed over in a deciding shootout at Nagano in 1998 when Canada needed him most. It's a mistake that should not happen again.
Hockey is Canada's game and Gretzky is hockey in Canada. He is the most recognized player to play his sport. He is the greatest hockey player of all time. Add these variables together and the iconic figure that is Gretzky seems like a logical choice.
He is the most decorated athlete in the nation's history and has achieved more stardom in his career than any other Canadian athlete. "The Great One" has the individual accolades to compliment the success he has realized on the highest levels of team play.
The great debate -
Terry Fox will always hold a special spot in the hearts and minds of fellow- Canadians. He exemplified strength, courage and a stubbornness to never quit.
Through a strong physical mind and spirit, Fox refused to let a disease and disability get the better of him. He ran across the country to spread awareness of cancer, attempting a feat that was nothing short of miraculous.
Sadly, Terry is not here to celebrate this day that Canadians have been waiting for since Calgary. However, his mom Betty will be, and she should certainly be incorporated in the festivities in some fashion.
The Fox family have represented Canada well and proud. They have cemented a rich legacy and possess characteristics that are examples of this country as a whole.
The Olympics host individuals who are the best at their respective sports. Betty Fox is not an athlete and that alone should exclude her from this symbolic gesture.
Olympics is about sports and Gretzky is the face of sports in Canada.
It is important to celebrate someone that is not only well known in Canada, but also internationally. Canada is showing off one of "theirs" with the person that is selected.
Gretzky was part of the last men's Canadian hockey team to win gold in 2002. After a disappointing seventh-place finish in Turin, the Canadian team will be looking for redemption on ice without "The Great One" at the helm.
These Olympic games mean more to Canada than they ever have. This is a country that finally feels that they can compete at the highest level with anyone and succeed. There would be no bigger way to prove that than for Gretzky to lead the brigade.
He may not be lacing up the skates or calling on other numbers, but number 99 should get the nod to ignite the Vancouver skies.