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Bilodeau a strong candidate to carry Maple Leaf

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It's tempting to phrase it thus: One way to have more French in the Olympics' Closing Ceremony would be to designate Alexandre Bilodeau Canada's flag bearer.

A journalist friend suggested that Canada's choice to carry the flag Sunday couldn't be anyone other than Bilodeau (right photo), who became the first Canadian to win an Olympic event on home soil when he captured men's moguls Feb. 14.

Bilodeau should be picked for the significance of that accomplishment rather than being turned into a political football. It's just that this being Canada, the political-football part always comes into play. It's a matter of to what degree.

The point is, though, that Bilodeau should be selected for the right reasons. The emphasis before the Games was that a Canadian would finally win a gold medal on home soil. Bilodeau went down as history as the man, so following that thread, he would be a great pick.

For the record, the Canadian Olympic Committee typically observes an English-French rotation with the Opening Ceremony. For instance, it was Clara Hughes at these Games, and hockey player Danielle Goyette, a Francophone, in 2006.

There's no such pattern for the Closing Ceremony. Cindy Klassen carried the flag at the end of the Turin Games. Another speedskater from western Canada, Catriona Le May Doan, did so in 2002.

Jon Montgomery (left photo) captured the country's imagination with his win in skeleton. But there can only be one first, which might make Bilodeau a betting favorite.

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