Vancouver Olympics Recap
The 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver came to a spectacular close on Sunday evening. The games, which hit a few snags coming out of the gate before getting up to speed, finished in dramatic fashion with a thrilling gold medal men's hockey game between the USA and Canada. Sydney Crosby scored the game-winning goal 7 minutes and 40 seconds into the overtime period to clinch the victory for the Canadians. The hard-fought affair saw the Americans tie the game at 2-2 with only 24.4 seconds left to play in the third period. According to the Nielsen ratings system, the game was a huge success for NBC, drawing an estimated average of nearly 28 million viewers across America.
In Canada, more than half the population of 33 million watched as their homegrown hero from Coal Harbour, Nova Scotia, potted the overtime winner and relieved the collective white knuckles of a nation.
Filled with ever-present shots of the Vancouver skyline, framed by the not so snow-capped mountains, the games featured many highs, a few lows and one unfortunate tragedy. Just hours before the opening ceremonies Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died in a horrific training accident. After crashing, Kumaritashvili catapulted out of the sliding track, slammed into a concrete support pillar, and died almost instantly.
For most, however, the 2010 Winter Games did not disappoint, bringing smiles and tears to not only the athletes, but also many of the estimated 3 billion viewers watching worldwide.
The US had an impressive showing, winning a Winter Olympic record of 37 medals. Many of the American athletes fulfilled or surpassed expectations, including controversial skier Bode Miller who won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal. The performance silenced his many critics and brought Miller redemption after a disappointing showing in the 2006 Turin Olympics, which saw him miss the podium entirely. American ski-team golden girl Lindsey Vonn overcame injury and delivered a gold medal in her first event, but then failed to place in her next three. Snowboarding's pioneer-superstar Shaun White dazzled the crowd with his gold medal half-pipe performance. White astonished audiences around the world when he unveiled a groundbreaking new trick on his second run after already securing the gold medal on his first. The trick, which Shaun has dubbed the Double McTwist 1260, involves two flips, three and a half turns and the ability to defy of the laws of gravity. With his performance, White secured his position as an emerging legend of the relatively young sport.
For Canada, the games most surely would be considered an unqualified success. Although the snow came a little late and the opening ceremonies saw a few minor glitches, the 17 days of sport ended on a high note and showcased Vancouver, one of the world's foremost livable cities, at its finest.
The Canadian men's hockey victory punctuated a strong showing for the Canadians, who ended the games with a record 14 Gold, and 26 total medals. The Canadians who drew fire for their "Own the Podium" slogan after a slow start, finished strong and although there is no official winner of the Olympics, 14 gold medals surely guarantees ownership of at least a piece of the podium.
The closing ceremonies featured some of Canada's biggest stars including Neil Young, Michael J. Fox and William Shatner as they took a typically Canadian, self-deprecating and humorous look back at the games, often poking fun at their own Canadian culture. I only wonder, could we have been spared the 30 foot inflatable beavers dancing around while Canadian Crooner Michael Buble, dressed in full Mountie regalia, sang "The Maple Leaf Forever" to close out the 21st Winter Olympic Games? Nonetheless, it was grand show.