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Joannie Rochette captured the bronze medal in ladies' figure skating less than a week after her mother died suddenly of a heart attack. ((Mark Baker/Associated Press))

Figure skater Joannie Rochette, who captured a bronze medal shortly after the death of her mother, will carry the Canadian flag into Sunday's closing ceremony at the Vancouver Olympics.

Earlier Sunday there had been reports that the flag would be carried by Charles Hamelin, a double gold medallist in short-track speedskating, but the Canadian Olympic Committee later issued a denial.

"He was never offered the position of flag-bearer," said COC spokesman Steve Keogh.

Canadian chef de mission Nathalie Lambert said Rochette earned the choice because of her grace and courage under pressure.

Rochette, a 24-year-old old from Ile-Dupas, Que., captured the bronze medal in ladies' figure skating less than a week after her mother, Therese, died suddenly of a heart attack.

Rochette said she was surprised to receive the honour considering that so many other Canadians won gold medals. But she said she's 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."

Long-track speedskater Clara Hughes carried the Canadian flag at the opening ceremonies.

With files from The Canadian Press