Rochette will carry Canada's flag
Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette, who won a bronze medal just days after her 55-year-old mother died suddenly of a heart attack, was selected to carry the Canadian flag at the Closing Ceremonies, Canadian Olympic officials announced Sunday.
Rochette competed in the women's short program just two days after her mother Therese died, and she claimed the bronze in last Thursday's deciding long program. Rochette called her mother her "best friend" but said she never considered pulling out of the Olympic Games.
"When I first got asked to walk into the stadium with the Canadian flag, I was a bit surprised and touched because I won [only] a bronze medal," Rochette said, noting that Canada has led the Games with the most gold medalists. "I was asking myself, 'Why me?' It's honestly such a big honor because during the Olympic experience, I have been carried by so many Canadians, so I'm honored to carry this into the stadium."
Nathalie Lambert, the chef de mission of the Canadian Olympic team, introduced Rochette Sunday by saying she had "inspired everybody on our team and, I think, has touched Canada" with her "grace and tenacity and resilience."
Rochette said she received great support from the Canadian team and fans, and was never pushed to compete. Her mother died after arriving to the Games from her home in Montreal overnight on February 20.
"What I can tell you about the Canadian team is that it's the most closely knit team there is at the Olympics." Rochette said. "I could not be here without all of the help and support I got,...It's been a tough week for me, but ... I want to talk tonight into the stadium with a big smile on my face."
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