He waited until the final moment – with Canada teetering on the brink of a national panic attack – before Sidney Crosby put his mark on this game, this gold medal, this emerging legacy.
Timing as they say is everything.
In a game for the ages, it was Crosby – the leader of Canada’s Generation Next – who scored the golden goal 7:40 into overtime, leading Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team to a thrill-a-minute 3-2 victory over their arch rivals from the United States.
Crosby, who was 14 and watching Canada’s 2002 Olympic championships on television, played give-and-go with one of the key players on that team, Jarome Iginla, to score the winning goal and salvage a game that was hanging in the balance.
On the play, Crosby gave the puck to Iginla deep in the U.S. zone and then drove hard to the net. Iginla – with U.S. defenceman Ryan Suter draped across his back – heard Crosby call out ‘Iggy’ and passed it back. Crosby shot the puck without looking. Magically, it found its way between the pads of goaltender Ryan Miller, ending the tense drama and sending the capacity crowd at Canada Hockey Place into paroxysms of joy.
Afterwards, Crosby said he didn’t even see the puck enter the net. He only knew it was in when he heard the crowd roar.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Crosby. “To have a chance to score in overtime, here in Canada, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Crosby had had a relatively quiet tournament by his standards, fitting in nicely as a piece of the puzzle on a team that relied on balanced scoring, mostly from its emerging young nucleus. It was fitting therefore that Crosby saved the best for last.
“Guys like that find a way,” said defenceman Chris Pronger.
It was Canada’s eighth Olympic gold medal overall in men’s hockey and they became the first to win on home ice since the U.S. did it in 1980′s ‘Miracle On Ice.’
Crosby was one of a handful of players who had a chance to put the game away in regulation. Canada nursed a 2-1 lead into the final minute of play; prior to that, Crosby had been denied on a breakaway with about three minutes to go and both Pronger and Shea Weber hit the post early in the third period.
Normally, in the rhythm of any hockey game, too many missed chances at one end translate into a goal at the other – and yesterday was no exception. With 25 seconds remaining in regulation; Canada getting set for a celebration; and goaltender Ryan Miller on the bench for a sixth attacker, the U.S. tied the game on a goal by Zach Parise. The sequence was potentially heart-breaking: Patrick Kane’s shot deflected off Jamie Langenbrunner’s skate right to Parise, who skated across the front of the goal crease and tucked a shot past goaltender Roberto Luongo.
To be so close to the championship – and then needing to return for four-on-four overtime – was just the final test in what had been a pressure-packed two weeks for the Canadian team. Thanks to Crosby, they survived.
According to centre Ryan Getzlaf, there wasn’t a lot said in the Canadian dressing room during the 15-minute intermission.
“Our guys did a great job – the leaders we have in that room – of staying poised and getting it done in the end,” said Getzlaf, who almost missed the Olympics because of an ankle injury suffered the week before the Games started. In the end, Getzlaf proved to be one of Canada’s most important contributors, setting up the second goal – by Corey Perry – that for the longest time looked as if it would be the game winner.
“I knew that Canada had a very good chance of winning the gold medal,” said Getzlaf, “and I wanted to be part of it. I was fortunate enough that the hockey gods blessed me to get that foot better and be back for the tournament.”
Getzlaf played with Crosby on Canada’s 2005 world junior hockey championship team.
“That’s Sid for you,” said Getzlaf. “There’s a reason he’s the best player in the world. He always shows up in those big moments and scores those big goals.”
It was a wonderfully played game on many levels – close-and-tight checking to start, with strong goaltending at both ends throughout. The nerves and what players like to call the “compete” level were at a fever pitch throughout. There was a moment when the cameras caught Iginla smiling on the bench after a particularly hard shift, talking to Crosby. Could it really have been fun too?
“We’d been talking together all tournament as a line – and communicating with each other,” said Iginla. On the winning goal, according to Iginla, Crosby “was yelling pretty urgently. There are different pitches of yells; this was loud.
“Sid, he just keeps going. He could have scored on that breakaway in regulation, but he’s a positive guy, and it was awesome to see it go in.”
A sentiment that was seconded all across Canada Sunday.
Images Credit: Getty Images onYahoo
“I just shot it,” he told CTV. “I didn’t really see it to be honest.”
It’s Canada’s 14th gold of the Vancouver Games, breaking the record for most gold medals at a Winter Olympics. The Soviet Union, in 1976, and Norway, in 2002, each won 13.
That forced a 20-minute sudden-death overtime, played four-on-four.
The gold was Canada’s eighth in men’s hockey at the Games — and the first since Team Canada defeated the host U.S. 5-2 at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
The Canadian women’s team won hockey gold Thursday, defeating the U.S. 2-0.
A wild end to regulation time saw Miller pulled with an extra attacker with 1:30 left to play.
Parise, the Americans’ best forward in the tournament, tied the game and forced OT as Kane’s shot went off Jamie Langenbrunner‘s skate to the front of the net where Parise slipped it past Luongo.
Toews and Perry spotted Canada a 2-0 lead before Kesler scored on a deflection in the second period for the U.S.
The packed stands at Canada Hockey Place were like a giant party for flag- and sign-waving revellers dressed in Canadian red and white.
The Canadian men did it in a game that outmatched even a Stanley Cup final in pace and ferocity, as thundering hits were made on both sides and the NHL referees mostly kept their whistles in their pockets and let them battle.
As in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Canada took gold in both men’s and women’s hockey — this time in the first Olympic tournament held on the smaller NHL-size ice surface.
The Canadian team looked to be in trouble after losing 5-3 to the U.S. in their final preliminary round game a week earlier.
But as they did in Salt Lake, they improved with each game and found the cohesion and intensity to claw their way into the final and a chance to avenge the loss to the fast but less skilled Americans and their quick-legged Miller, who took a 1.04 goals-against average into the final.
The U.S. win in round-robin play forced Canada to play an extra elimination round game. Even though that was an easy 8-2 win over German, the sense was that the youthful American team would be fresher in the third period of the final and they were.
But in a wild third, Canada’s Shea Weber and Chris Pronger hit goalposts in the first two minutes, Dany Heatley just failed to lift a puck over sprawled Miller 10 minutes in, and Crosby, held without a point in the final three games, lost the handle on the puck on a late breakaway thanks to determined backchecking from Kane.
At the other end, Luongo held his ground and the defence kept shooters out of the goal area in a bid to preserve the win.
The opening minutes of the game saw heavy hitting from both sides, particularly U.S. defenceman Brooks Orpik who nearly put Heatley into the players bench, but Canada did not allow the Americans to establish pressure in their zone.
Toews connected 12:50 into the game as the Chicago centre and Mike Richards combined to win battles for the puck near the net against Erik Johnson and Paul Stastny and Richards pushed it to Toews for high shot from in close.
It was the first of the tournament for perhaps Canada’s most consistent forward and marked the first time the U.S. had trailed in a game.
Canada had just completed its first penalty kill when Ryan Getzlaf skated into the U.S. and zone and saw his pass go off Ryan Whitney‘s skate to Perry alone in front for a quick shot and his fourth goal at 8:25.
Just as the flag and sign-waving crowd began to party in the seats, the U.S. struck back as Kane snapped a shot that went off the shaft of Kesler’s stick and trickled through Luongo’s equipment at 12:44.
Between periods, Kesler told a TV interviewer he felt his Vancouver teammate Luongo was fighting the puck, as he had in previous games.
Canada became the first country to win hockey gold on home ice since the American Miracle On Ice team from the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.
It was a first loss at these Games for the Americans. The last hockey team to go undefeated at the Olympics was the Soviet Union, which was 5-0 in Calgary in 1988.
Both referees Bill McCreary and Dan O’Halloran, as well as linesman Jean Morin are Canadian. The other linesman was Stefan Fonselius of Finland.
The full house was also packed with celebrities, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, singers Neil Young and Bryan Adams, actors William Shatner and Vince Vaughn, and from the sports world, golfer Mike Weir and hockey greats Gordie Howe and Mark Messier.
Notes— It was the 17th meeting between Canada and the U.S. in Olympic history. Canada leads the series (10-3-3)… Coach Mike Babcock wore his lucky McGill University tie for the game. He is (5-2) all-time with the tie, with both losses in overtime… In the pre-game warmup, Crosby stopped to tie a skate lace and his former Pittsburgh teammate, American Ryan Malone, slid a couple pucks toward him to try to hit his gloves on the ice. Malone smiled, Crosby didn’t react.
CANADA WINS GOLD !!! Sudden Death Overtime Crosby for the WIN !!!! Canada 3 U.S.A. 2 … Canadian Gold Medalist(s) #14
Canada is once again on top of the hockey world as they have defeated the United States 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game at the Olympic hockey tournament.
Sidney Crosby was the overtime hero as he beat Ryan Miller mid-way through the extra-frame.
While Roberto Luongo was criticized prior to the tournament for his lack of big game experience, he has likely silenced those doubters as he made 34 saves in the victory.
Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry also scored for Canada, while Ryan Kesler and Zach Parise responded for the United States.
The win secures Canada’s 14th gold medal at the Games, setting an all-time Olympic record.
Along with the gold medal, Canada was also able to regain bragging rights on continental supremacy after the Americans beat Team Canada 5-3 earlier in the tournament.
It is a jam packed house at Canada Hockey Place that was littered with Canadian-born celebrities like Neil Young, Michael J. Fox, Bryan Adams, William Shatner and Prime Minister Stephen Harper sporting his Canada jersey.
They were treated to a fast-paced and hard-hitting encounter between a pair of rivals who know each other very well.
Canada drew first blood as Mike Richards separated Erik Johnson from the puck with a strong forechecking effort. Ryan Miller kicked out Richards shot but Jonathan Toews was there to bury the rebound for his first of the tournament to send a packed house at Canada Hockey Place into a frenzy.
The bad blood nearly boiled over at the end of the period as Jack Johnson drilled Corey Perry into the boards after the final buzzer. Ryan Getzlaf did not like that one bit as he went back at Johnson. The referees had to break up a skirmish as both teams headed to the dressing room with Canada holding a one-goal advantage.
Perry got his revenge on the scoreboard as adding to Canada’s lead in the second period. After killing off a penalty to Eric Staal, Canada went on the attack as Getzlaf lofted a backhander at the American net. Miller kicked out a rebound directly into the path of Perry who hammered home his fourth goal of the tournament, giving Canada a two-goal advantage.
That would be short-lived as the Americans were able to respond late in the period thanks to the quick hands of Kesler in front as he tipped Patrick Kane’s shot past his Vancouver Canucks’ teammate Luongo to pull the United States within a goal.
With all the momentum behind them, the Americans buzzed around Luongo’s net with Ryan Suter coming close to equalizing with a backhanded effort that just trickled wide.
Canada came out flying in the final frame, nearly adding to their lead with less than a minute in as both Shea Weber and Chris Pronger drives beat Miller but found iron instead of glory.
The Canadians continued to heap on the offensive pressure as Dany Heatley had a great chance to give Canada a two-goal lead, but was denied twice by Miller at the side of the net.
Sidney Crosby had a great opportunity to salt this one away with just over three minutes remaining as he was sprung on a break. Miller was equal to the task once again to keep his team in this one.
With just over a minute remaining, American head coach Ron Wilson called a time-out to rally his troops and pull Miller from the net.
The gambit paid off as Parise was able to beat Luongo to silence the crowd and send this epic encounter to overtime.
Canada had the better chances in overtime, but once again Ryan Miller has continued his stellar play, robbing Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash on great scoring opportunities.
But Miller’s luck ran out as Crosby was able to shovel home his fourth of the tournament to secure the victory and give the country the golden moment they had been waiting for.
Canada reached rare heights Saturday, becoming only the third country to win 13 gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games.
A new mark for Winter Olympics will be set Sunday if Canada beats the United States for men’s hockey gold.
An Olympics that had a stuttering start for the host nation gained yet more momentum Saturday on what was the first three-gold day in Canada’s Winter Games history. The men’s long-track team of Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux kicked it off by beating the United States at the Richmond Oval. Minutes later Jasey-Jay Anderson staged a dramatic comeback in the second leg of the Parallel Giant Slalom final to win gold.
And then Kevin Martin’s rink beat Norway 6-3 in the men’s curling final.
The only previous countries to win 13 gold in a Winter Games were the Soviet Union in 1976 and Norway in 2002.
The 13 gold medals is also a record for a host nation, breaking the previous mark of 10 set by the United States and Norway.
Canada seems certain to end the Games with 26 medals. Lyndon Rush’s sled won a bronze Saturday in four-man bobsleigh. That’s a record, two more than the 24 won in Turin four years ago.
VANCOUVER — Kevin Martin redeemed his last rock miss in Salt Lake City by winning gold on home soil Saturday, beating Norway 6-3. The gold medal was the third for Canada on a banner second-last day.
Martin never trailed in the draw, building a 3-0 lead before watching Norway cut it back to one at 3-2. Martin then played a perfect draw in the seventh to make it 5-2. A draw in the ninth stretched the lead to three and allowed Martin to match the feat of Brad Gushue in Turin 2006 and claim back-to-back Olympic gold for Canada.
Watch a replay of the gold medal winning performance here.
END 1: Martin blanked the first end to retain last rock. Canada 0, Norway 0.
END 2: Martin with last rock, playing the red stones. Morris clears the yellow Norwegian stones with a highlight triple takeout. Ulsrud forces Martin to draw for one. Canada 1, Norway 0.
END 3: Norway blanks a wide-open third end and retains the hammer. Canada 1, Norway 0.
END 4: Ulsrud misses a draw to the button and Martin steals one. Last rock stays with Norway. Television commentators blame the miss on a brushing error. Canada 2, Norway 0.
END 5: Morris in on fire, another double-takeout. Fist pumps everywhere. Ulsrud misses a double-takeout attempt of his own. The crowd awakens with a Go Canada Go. Martin steals one again. Canada 3, Norway 0.
END 6: We’re back. The break seems to have revived Ulsrud, who is back in the game with a deuce. Canada takes last rock. Canada 3, Norway 2.
END 7: Martin calls timeout. Conversation seems to be around the peel, the double-peel or a draw. Double-peel it is. Ulsrud misses with his last rock, allowing Martin to draw for two. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on his feet. The big screen just showed men’s hockey coach Mike Babcock as well. Canada 5, Norway 2.
END 8: Morris restores faith with a good shot in the eighth after a pair of previous misses, the crowd responds. Martin draws to the top button, pressure is on the Norwegians. Martin delivers a perfect freeze, Norway can only take one. Canada 5, Norway 3.
END 9: Martin with last rock. Timeout called; the Norwegian coach is also wearing the checkered pants. Solidarity. Martin draws for another single point. Up three heading to the last end. Canada 6, Norway 3.
END 10: Norway with last rock. One end away from back-to-back Olympic gold medals in men’s curling for Canada. Impromptu singing of O Canada. Martin backs off. Norway is run out of stones and Martin is an Olympic champion.
Jasey Jay Anderson’s gold medal in Parallel Giant Slalom Saturday guaranteed a Winter Games record for number of Canadian medals.
But coupled with the men’s long-track team pursuit gold it also gives Canada a chance for a much bigger accomplishment – record number of gold medals at a Winter Olympic Games.
Anderson’s gold medal is Canada’s 23rd at these Games. But Kevin Martin’s rink is guaranteed a curling medal later Saturday and the men’s hockey team will win either gold or silver tomorrow against the United States.
So 25 medals are now guaranteed at the Vancouver Games, one more than the 24 won in Turin four years ago.
But gold for Martin in curling and the men’s hockey team would give Canada 14 golds, an Winter Olympic record.
A 26th medal is a possibility for Canada given that Lyndon Rush’s sled is in second place heading into the final run of the four-man bobsleigh competition at Whistler.
Canada has struck gold at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
The men’s long track speed skating team pursuit trio of Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., Lucas Makowsky of Regina and Mathieu Giroux of Montreal defeated the United States in a time of three minutes 41:37 seconds to capture the gold medal on Saturday.
The Americans closed the gap as the race wore on but could not catch the Canadians and finished in a time of three minutes 42.58 seconds to capture the silver medal.
The Netherlands took home the bronze with an Olympic record time of three minutes 39.95 seconds.
We all have the speed for the 1,500m and we were able to build on that,” Makowsky said following the race. “It is just surreal right now.”
The Canadian men dominated their first two races on the opener of a two-day event, setting an Olympic record on Friday in the quarterfinals to beat Italy, and then eclipsing that mark in the semifinal against Norway to advance to the gold-medal race.
The women’s pursuit team of Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., Kristina Groves of Ottawa and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg were upset when the heavily favoured Canadians fell to the United States in the opening round. They defeated the Netherlands on Saturday to finish fifth.
Germany won the women’s speed skating team pursuit gold medal, while Japan took silver with Poland claiming bronze.
Canadian Jasey-Jay Anderson has won the Olympic gold medal at the men’s parallel giant slalom at Cypress Mountain.
Anderson, Canada’s most decorated snowboarder, beat out long-time rival Benjamin Karl of Austria.
France’s Mathieu Bozetto secured the bronze medal.
Anderson, who has claimed a total of 59 podium finishes with 26 victories in 207 World Cup starts, has competed in three previous Olympic Games without cracking the finals.
Anderson’s victory closes out a snowboarding career that has spanned almost 20 years.
“It’s been my whole life…it’s a really small sport and to stick around this long, you need to…really perservere and be hard-headed many many times,” Anderson said at a press conference last week.
“I am fortunate to have been able to be an athlete up to the age of 34 in this sport.
“The people Ive met, the people who have helped me grow through the sport and through sport in general just the experience of going through the whole Olympic process, being a Canadian in sport, family support.
“I am not the same person that I would have been had I taken a more conventional lifestyle or life path.”
With files from Brett Carpentier
With two short track gold medals Friday Canada now stands a reasonable chance of tying the Winter Games record of 13 gold medals.
The two short-track golds also means Canada has tied its all-time record for Olympic gold in a Winter or Summer Games. Canada won 10 gold medals at the heavily boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Canadians are favoured to win gold in three events during the final two days of the Games: men’s long-track pursuit, men’s curling and men’s hockey.
The three-man team of Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux set a couple of Olympic records Friday at the Richmond Oval. They skated past Norway in the semi-finals with an Olympic record time of three minutes 42.22 seconds and will race in Saturday’s final against the United States, which upset the Netherlands by 0.40 seconds in the other semi-final.
Kevin Martin’s rink faces Norway for gold in the Olympic final Saturday.
Canada’s men’s hockey team will play for gold against the United States on Sunday after defeating Slovakia 3-2 in Friday night’s semi-final.
For the second time since NHL players began participating in the Olympics, Canada will face the United States in the gold medal game thanks to a 3-2 victory over Slovakia Friday.
After controlling the play for the majority of the game, Canada gave up two goals late in this one and then held on for the victory.
Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow and Ryan Getzlaf had the goals for Canada while Lubomir Visnovsky and Michal Handzus replied for the Slovaks.
Roberto Luongo was stellar for two periods but looked shaky in the final frame; however he came up with his biggest save when Canada needed him most.
It was a frenetic closing two minutes in this one as the Slovaks threw everything they had at the Canadian net looking for an equalizer, but Pavol Demitra was robbed by Luongo with less than 10 seconds on the clock on a shot that would have sent this one to OT.
It appeared as though Canada was going to cruise in this one as tipped goals by Marleau and Morrow in the first period gave the Canadians a two goal lead early.
When Getzlaf made it 3-0 thanks to a power play goal in the second period the Canadian fans sensed that the rout was on.
With just five minutes into the third period, the Canadian supporters began to get impatient, chanting “We want the USA,” as it appeared that the Canadian lead was safe and a Sunday date with the United States looked inevitable.
But the Slovaks were not ready to go down quietly. On a delayed penalty Visnovsky’s backhand trickled past Luongo on a shot that the Canadian goalie would have loved to have back. Suddenly Canada’s lead was down to two.
Slovakia continued to pour on the pressure as Richard Zednik circled the net. His shot was stopped but Michal Handzus was there to clean up the garbage and pull Slovakia within one. All of a sudden the rematch with the United States did not look so inevitable.
With Halak pulled in favour of the extra attacker Slovakia had the Canadians on their heels and scrambling in their own zone. That’s when Luongo came up with the save that has already been dubbed ‘the glove from above’ to stone Demitra and send Canada Hockey Place into a frenzy.
As the final buzzer sounded it was largely a sense of relief as Canada had earned their rematch with the United States who beat them 5-3 earlier in the tournament.
The United States will also be looking to settle the score after Canada captured the gold on American soil in Salt Lake City in 2002.
Slovakia will now go on to face Finland in Saturday’s bronze medal game.
Canada’s men’s short track speed skating team finally ended its medal drought, Friday, and they did it in a big way.
Less than an hour later, Hamelin and Tremblay led teammates François Hamelin, Olivier Jean and Guillaume Bastille to the top of the podium, winning the men’s 5,000m relay in six minutes, 44.224 seconds.
Bastille did not participate in the final, but because he raced in the semis, he will also receive a medal.
The men’s 500m race began with all four skaters – South Korea’s Sung Si-Bak, Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States, Tremblay and Charles Hamelin – in tight contention for a medal.
Things opened up in the final lap. Tremblay spilled onto the ice after what appeared to be a push from Ohno, while Sung Si-Bak slipped and fell behind.
It was Hamelin who was first across the line, but Ohno was close on his heels. Upon review, however, the referee disqualified the United States’ most decorated winter athlete, postponing Ohno’s eighth career Olympic medal.
Sung was boosted to silver with a time of 41.340, while Tremblay, with a time of 46.336, was third.
In a live post race interview with NBC, Ohno said he believed he was unfairly disqualified by a Canadian official. He said he believed the ruling was made to put two Canadians on the podium.
The silver and bronze were Canada’s first in the distance since Marc Gagnon won gold in 2002.
In the men’s 5,000m relay, Canada tucked into second place behind China’s relay team for the first 20 laps of the 40-lap race. South Korea was close behind the Canadians in third.
It was Jean who actually made the move to pass China as the skaters entered second half of the race. Canada held the lead until the end, earning the gold ahead of South Korea. The United States finished third.
With the relay result, Canada tied its best-ever gold-medal tally, earning its 10th gold of these Games. Canada last picked up 10 gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
With the 5,000m gold, Tremblay also made his own mark in the history books. He joins Marc Gagnon as the only male Canadian athlete to win a total of five medals at the Olympic Winter Games.
By Jim Morris, The Canadian Press
WHISTLER, B.C. – Clara Hughes carried the Maple Leaf to help kick off the Vancouver Olympics. The veteran speedskater is picking Alexandre Bilodeau as the home side’s flag-bearer when the Games come to a close Sunday.
“I am fully behind Alex,” Hughes said in an email to The Canadian Press. “He is truly inspiring to me and his gold shines bright, like the sun in the sky. Not just because it was the first for Canada on Canadian soil, more so because of who he is.”
Bilodeau won moguls gold, becoming the first Canadian to be crowned Olympic champion at home. He also won the hearts of Canadians with his post-medal tribute to older brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy.
“Enjoy life, that is his philosophy and he’s got the right to complain,” said Alexandre.
After his victory, Bilodeau donated $25,000 to the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres in support of research into cerebral palsy.
Figure skater Joannie Rochette, who won bronze with a courageous performance in the wake of her mother’s death, will also come under consideration. The festive nature of the closing ceremonies may not suit her, however, although she has shown tremendous resolve already.
“That was the most inspiring thing I have ever seen!” Sami Jo Small, a former gold-medal winning goaltender for the women’s Olympic hockey team, said on Twitter.
“Joannie should carry the CND Flag at the closing ceremonies. Represents the best of us!”
Nathalie Lambert, Canada’s chef de mission, said many athletes deserve consideration.
“I think we need to respect every single athlete,” she said in Vancouver. “Joannie did an amazing, totally inspirational performance. So did Alex. So did Hayley Wickenheiser. So did Kristina Groves. So did Maelle (Ricker).
“There were a lot of wow moments that inspired people in different ways and I think we need to consider everybody.”
The decision of who will be flag-bearer will be made by Lambert and her assistants Joe Juneau and Steve Podborski.
Chris Rudge, chief executive officer with the Canadian Olympic Committee, said an athlete’s performance at the Games is only one factor.
“It’s pretty subjective,” said Rudge. “You take a look at the performance during the Games. You take a look at the activity in the village and the relationship the athlete has with the rest of the team, who would be perceived by the other athletes as a leader.”
Lambert bristled at the suggestion language and gender play a role.
“We don’t go ‘Last time it was an athlete from that sport, or it was a French Canadian or an English Canadian, or it was a guy or a girl,’” she said. “We are really trying to give this opportunity to who we feel is the best person to represent Canada.”
There is no formal nomination process but athletes can make suggestions.
“Already people have started lobbying,” Lambert said.
The decision won’t be announced until Saturday night or Sunday.
Another candidate is skeleton racer Jon Montgomery of Russell, Man., who became an Olympic gold medallist and then champion hoser for slurping from a pitcher of beer handed to him as he walked through Whistler.
Ottawa’s Kristina Groves won two speedskating medals.
Ricker’s victory in snowboard cross made the Squamish, B.C., resident the first Canadian woman to win Olympic gold at home.
“Local girl, learned to turn on this hill, dominated in the finals, won the gold medal by a mile,” Christian Hrab, high-performance director of Canada Snowboard, said at Cypress Mountain.
“It’s a snowboard nation here in Canada, so we think Maelle would be good.”
Calgary’s Wickenheiser, the captain of the women’s hockey team, earned her third Olympic gold medal with Canada’s 2-0 win over the U.S. Thursday night.
Cindy Klassen, who won five speedskating medals, carried the flag at the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Turin Games.
Pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, who remained composed during the figure skating controversy in Salt Lake City, had the honour in 2002.
Catriona Le May Doan, who won gold and bronze, was the closing ceremony flag-bearer in 1998 in Nagano. Myriam Bedard, a double gold medallist in biathlon, did it at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
With files from Canadian Press sports writers Donna Spencer and Andy Blatchford
It’s about time Charles, well done.
Canada’s men’s short track speed skating team finally ended its medal drought, Friday, with Charles Hamelin of Leval, Que., picking up the gold medal in the 500m final while teammate Francois-Louis Tremblay earned bronze.
Skating in a tight race with South Korea’s Sung Si-Bak and Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States, Ohno tripped up Francois-Louis Tremblay in the final lap of the race, while Sung Si-Bak slipped and fell behind.
It was Hamelin who was first across the line in a time of 40.981 seconds ahead of Ohno. But upon review, the referee disqualified the American skater, preventing Ohno – already the most decorated American winter Olympian in history – from winning his eighth career Olympic medal.
Sung was boosted to silver with a time of 41.340, while Tremblay, with a time of 46.336, was third.
The silver and bronze were Canada’s first in the distance since Marc Gagnon won gold in 2002.
Earlier in the evening, Canada’s women were shut out of the 1,000m medal race. The men’s 5,000m relay – the last short track event of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games – is scheduled for later Friday.
By Rachel Brady, CTVOlympics.ca
Home-ice pressure? No problem.
The Canadian women’s hockey team has embraced a nation’s desire for hockey gold and it has delivered just that.
Led by an 18-year-old scoring phenom and a goalie most considered the sure No.3 just a few months ago, Canada skated to a confident 2-0 win over its rivals from the United States, and seized its third straight Olympic gold medal.
Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que. scored two goals on U.S. netminder Jessie Vetter – both in the first period — to lead the charge in just her first Olympic Games.
The rest of the game was scoreless for both teams. Shannon Szabados was impenetrable in the Canadian net, making 28 saves, many of them the sort that made jaws drop and the crowd erupt. The native of Edmonton, Alta., made several of her signature sprawling glove saves, giving her team a huge burst of momentum.
Also a first-time Olympian, Szabados was a big part of a disciplined Canadian penalty-killing effort that killed off numerous U.S powerplays, including a critical five-on-three early in the second period.
Canada’s women errupted in celebration before a deafening crowd as the final buzzer sounded, piling onto Szabados for their long awaited victory hug.
As the two teams received their medals, there was an outpouring of sportsmanship from the fans for Finland, the bronze medallists and particularly for the silver-medal-winning rivals from the U.S. The entire building — Canadian and American fans alike — chanted ‘U-S-A’ as the U.S. players received their silver rewards.
Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse led a one-two punch for Canada in women’s bobsleigh, winning gold on Wednesday at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown picked up the silver medal in the Canada 2 sled.
“To be honest it hasn’t even set in yet,” said a grinning Humphries, who was an alternate four years ago. “It’s freaking amazing. I’m so happy right now, you have no idea. I can’t even describe it, I really can’t even believe it myself.”
The medals are an historic first for Canada in women’s bobsleigh, and come four years after Upperton and Moyse came within 0.05 seconds of winning the country’s first-ever Olympic medal, but settled for fourth.
“As Kaille said, it hasn’t quite set in yet. When it does, I’ll be bawling,” said Moyse. “Five one hundredths of a second is what made me come back to bobsledding.”
Humphries, of Calgary, and Moyse, of Summerside, P.E.I., led from start to finish en route to their gold medal. The Canada 1 duo broke the track record three times, finishing 0.91 ahead of their teammates in a four-run time of three minutes, 32.28 seconds.
Calgary’s Upperton and Brown, of Scarborough, Ont., were in fourth heading into Wednesday’s final two heats, but moved into the bronze medal position with one run to go, just 0.03 ahead of Germany’s Cathleen Martini and Romy Logsch.
The Germany 2 sled crashed on its final run – both athletes were able to walk away – and Upperton followed that up with the fastest time of the final heat (53.17). The blistering run moved Canada 2 ahead of Americans Erin Pac and Elana Meyers, who were in second with one run remaining, but settled for bronze.
“So many people own a piece of this medal,” said Upperton, who was ranked No. 5 after the world cup season.
“I think it just shows the strength of the nation and how much support Canada has given us,” Brown added. “I can’t even express the amount of jubilation that I’m feeling right now. I’m so proud to be Canadian, I’m so, so thankful for everybody and grateful to everybody…Thank you Canada, this is yours. Thank you.”
Canada last won gold and silver in the same event in the men’s skeleton in 2006.
It’s the first time Canada will occupy two spots on the podium at these Games.
The gold medal is Canada’s seventh at the Vancouver Winter Games, and ties the country’s record for most-ever at an Olympics. Canada also won seven gold medals in 2002 and 2006.
VANCOUVER – OK, nobody saw that coming.
In one of the most hyped, heralded and anticipated hockey games ever played, Canada unleashed a devastating first-period attack Wednesday night to crush Russia, the defending world champions and in some people’s minds, the gold-medal favorite, in a men’s Olympic hockey quarter-final game.
In all, Canada scored six goals on 23 shots in just over 24 minutes to play to stun Russia’s stylish, but on this night, badly overmatched men’s team.
The defeat by a 7-3 final score sent the Russians home to await the start of the 2014 Games in Sochi, where the hope is they may even show up to play. Canada, meanwhile, moves on to the semi-finals Friday to face either the defending Olympic champions Sweden or Slovakia.
It was a game in which everything went Canada’s way, from the moment the puck was dropped between Jonathan Toews and Russia’s No. 1 centre Evgeni Malkin. Canadian coach Mike Babcock cobbled together a checking line consisting of Toews, Mike Richards and Rick Nash, with Nash drawing the task of shadowing Russia’s all-world scoring sensation, Alex Ovechkin.
Nash had been Canada’s most physical forward in this tournament and physically, the best equipped to go head-to-head against Ovechkin, who’d knocked the Czech star Jaromir Jagr right out of the tournament in an earlier game. But Nash was strong against Ovechkin all night – or as long as it mattered, which was probably no more than the early stages of the second period, by which time Canada had the game sealed and delivered.
Richards was just as good, hounding Malkin, a frequent NHL adversary in the Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers’ rivalry. Richards’ play, to strip Malkin of the puck just inside the Russian blue line with Canada holding a 2-0 first-period lead, may have been the turning point in the game. Richards moved the puck up to Toews on a quick transitional play, who then found Nash breaking into the clear.
Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov committed two beats too soon on the play and was flat on his side by the time Nash buried a shot into the top half of the net.
Nabokov had an awful night and when he gave up a cheapie to Brenden Morrow in the final two minutes of the opening period, it seemed certain that Russian coach Slava Bykov would yank him for the start of the second period. Bykov didn’t – much to his ever-lasting chagrin.
Canada scored twice more within the first 4:07 of the second to go up 6-1 and at that point, back-up goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov finally came in off the bench – too little, too late to save the Russians’ medal hopes.
Canada also received a strong game from the newly formed line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Morrow, who accounted for four of the seven goals. Getzlaf scored the all-important opening goal; Perry counted twice in the second, to snuff out any possible hope of a Russian comeback. Getzlaf and Perry play in the NHL for the Anaheim Ducks, the team that made Nabokov’s life miserable in last year’s opening playoff round.
For Canada, the pattern of building and improving as a team throughout the tournament is standard practice in the Olympics’ NHL era – the only concern usually is if they run out of time. As it turns out, playing an extra game in the qualification round against Germany one night earlier may have done them a world of good. That was the first time they started to get comfortable as a team, following a week of changes and experiments with line combinations, some of which worked, and others that didn’t.
So Canada gets a day off now before resuming play and if it is Sweden that stands in its path, they will pose a real threat. The two teams haven’t met since the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, when Sweden won in a walk.
It was hard to imagine the frantic pace of the wildly entertaining opening 20 minutes could be sustained – and realistically, from Babcock’s perspective, the Canadians wouldn’t have wanted it to anyway. Trading chances with the Russians is never a good idea – and it makes even less sense when you’re holding a big lead. The third period developed into a grind-it-out NHL sort of game, perfectly suited to Canada’s purposes.
The crowd at Canada Hockey Place had to content itself by mocking Ovechkin with the cry, “Ovie, Ovie” whenever the Russian touched the puck.
The test now will be to harness the emotion Canada had off the start and see if they can reach that fervor pitch again in time to play Slovakia or Sweden.
In 2006, when Russia won the meeting against Canada in the quarter-final, they fell apart in the final two games, failing to score in either the semi-final or the bronze medal game.
By Eric Duhatschek, CTVOlympics.ca
VANCOUVER – So now it comes down to this: Canada-Russia on Wednesday in men’s Olympic hockey, the winner to go on, the loser to go home.
Theoretically, the Russia-Canada match-up would have been better as the gold-medal final, but since that cannot happen, ticket holders for the second of Wednesday’s four quarter-final match-ups will be rewarded with a view of history, Canada trying to stay alive to win a hometown Olympic hockey medal, Russia standing in its way.
Canada took the necessary first step by defeating Germany 8-2 in Tuesday’s qualification-round game. As expected, the overmatched Germans gave it their all, understanding that an exceptional goaltending performance, or even a bit of good fortune, can help an underdog in a one-game, winner-take-all showdown.
But ultimately, Canada’s edge in every department – scoring, goaltending, special teams – tilted the scales in its favor. Joe Thornton‘s first goal of the tournament 10:13 into the opening period put Canada ahead to stay against an offensively challenged German team that had been previously shut out twice in the tournament.
Still, the Canadian team didn’t really collectively exhale until on odd sequence early in the second period, when Shea Weber‘s slap shot from the point passed right through the net. Play continued until the next stoppage, at which point a video review confirmed that an actual goal had been scored.
The referees put 38 seconds back on the clock and while the Germans collectively digested that unfortunate series of events, Jarome Iginla potted a power-play goal just over a minute later, making it 3-0 Canada and ending the suspense. Iginla eventually added a second goal, his fifth of the tournament, as the Canadians wore down Thomas Greiss’s resistance in the German goal.
As a player, Weber resembles the early Al MacInnis, someone who can occasionally be wild high with a devastating slap shot. But Weber’s shot is a weapon and it has been the only one that consistently sifted through from the point for Canada throughout the tournament.
From a Canadian perspective, the key to victory on Tuesday was not expending too much emotional energy in advance of the Russian game, something that can be acutely draining to a team playing for the second time in two nights.
That four-goal cushion at the midpoint of the game permitted coach Mike Babcock to run four lines and preserve the legs for tonight’s encounter against Russia.
Babcock’s new line combinations worked reasonably well, with Eric Staal nicely complementing Iginla and Crosby by providing strong corner work for the unit.
Naturally, Russia will represent a different kind of challenge. As the home team, Russia’s coach, Slava Bykov, will have the last line change; it remains to be seen whether Bykov will play a match-up game or simply roll lines. Potentially, Crosby could go head-to-head against his Pittsburgh Penguins’ teammate, Evgeni Malkin, who currently centers Ovechkin’s line.
“It’s going to be crazy,” predicted Russia’s Sergei Fedorov. “The fans will cheer for Team Canada. They will get great support.”
Marcel Goc broke Roberto Luongo‘s shutout attempt late in the second period, the first goal Luongo has permitted in the tournament. Greiss stopped Crosby on a second-period penalty shot; otherwise, the overall damage could have been worse.
On Thornton’s all-important ice-breaking first goal, Dany Heatley made an athletic play from behind the net to trap the bouncing puck in front of German defenceman Christian Ehrhoff and get it out in front to Thornton, who banged it in from the top of the crease.
It was the sort of goal that Canada hasn’t scored often enough in this tournament – executed at high speed before Greiss could get set.
Ideally, what the Canadian shooters want are a few more uncontested chances, which happened in the third period against Norway and then not again until the second period last night, when they turned the game into a shooting gallery against Greiss.
An issue all tournament long has been the ice conditions at Canada Hockey Place. With so many games being played here – three yesterday altogether – the pucks have been bouncing like a rubber ball, one reason the players on both sides have had to hesitate sometimes when making a play, waiting to settle the puck down.
As to the fact that the Canada-Russia encounter came so early in the tournament, Fedorov was philosophical, knowing that it as unlucky for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s No. 1 rated Russians as it is for the No. 2 rated Canadians.
“That’s the way it came out,” said Fedorov. “It’s the luck of the draw.”
Canadian racer Ashleigh McIvor has won the Olympic gold medal in ski cross at Cypress Mountain.
McIvor, the reigning world champion, took the lead in each heat going into the final and beat out Norway’s Hedda Bernsten.
“This is the most amazing thing, this is the most amazing moment of my entire life,” McIvor said immediately following the race.
“I was standing in the start gate thinking everything in my life is leading me here.
“There’s nothing more I could have done to come here better prepared.”
McIvor, of Whistler, B.C., was ranked second overall on the World Cup circuit going into the Games behind France’s Ophélie David who was eliminated in the quarterfinal.
“It’s in my hometown pretty much, what more could I ask for?” McIvor said.
Marion Josserand of France secured the bronze medal.
Canadian Kelsey Serwa placed fifth overall after dominating the small final.
Teammate Julia Murray did not advance to the semi-final despite a strong rally in her quarterfinal run from the last position.
Danielle Poleschuk did not advance to the quarterfinal after a fall.
For months, Scott Moir has been unabashedly telling reporters that he and partner Tessa Virtue were the best ice dance team in the world.
Monday night, they proved it.
In front of a roaring crowd at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, Virtue, of London, Ont., and Moir, of Ilderton, Ont., scored a personal-best 110.42 points in their skate to Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
It was good enough to take North America’s very first ice dancing Olympic gold with a whopping 221.57 points over friends and trainingmates Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States.
From Yahoo Sports: THE CANADIAN PRESS Report Here.
The couple captured the gold with a stirring free dance performance to Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5″ at the Vancouver Winter Games on Monday. Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., edged American training partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White and reigning world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia.
The Canadians finished with 221.57 total points in their Olympic debut. White and Davis had 215.74 for the silver and the Russians scored 207.64 to take the bronze.
Virtue and Moir are also the first North Americans to capture ice dance gold.
They punctuated their free program with a breathtaking lift known as The Goose.
It’s the first figure skating medal for Canada at the Vancouver Games and first Olympic gold since Jamie Sale and David Pelletier shared the pairs title eight years ago in Salt Lake City.
Montgomery blazes to skeleton gold
CTV Online here - By Kristina Rutherford, CTVOlympics.ca
He was sitting in second with one run to go, but Canada’s Jon Montgomery put together a gutsy performance to win men’s skeleton gold on Friday at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
The Russell, Man., native edged Latvia’s Martins Dukurs by just 0.07 seconds.
“When I saw that plus 0.07s come up, I lost my mind,” a smiling Montgomery, draped in a Canadian flag, said after his race. “It’s Canada’s gold medal.
“Without my sponsors and Own the Podium and the COC and everybody else involved, this wouldn’t be a reality, so everybody in Canada has a piece of this gold medal for sure, especially Russell, Manitoba – yeah, yeah, yeah,” he added, grinning.
It was Dukurs who led the competition after Day 1, and through three runs was sitting 0.18s ahead of Montgomery.
The Canadian laid down a track record-setting time in his opening run on Friday to pull closer to that gold medal with one heat to go.
Montgomery, 30, saved his best start for last, clocking a time of 4.61s en route to a 52.36s run.
It’s the fourth Olympic gold medal for Canada at the 2010 Games, and the second straight Olympic gold in men’s skeleton following Duff Gibson’s win in 2006.
Sporting his Canada toque, an elated Montgomery jumped on the victory podium and pumped his fists as a Canadian contingent cheered him on track-side.
Told he was an Olympic champion, Montgomery said, “That sounds unreal, man. I’m gonna have to get used to hearing that, because it hasn’t sunk in yet, that’s for sure.”
Montgomery clocked a four-run time of 3 minutes, 29.73 seconds.
“I certainly didn’t leave anything on the track. I let it – like I said - all hang out, and it turned out for the best today,” he said.
Russia’s Alexander Tretyakov won bronze, 1.02s back.
Jeff Pain of Calgary, the reigning Olympic silver medallist, finished 9th.
Pain, who was 10th in overall 2009-10 World Cup standings, was competing despite a torn oblique muscle.
Calgary’s Mike Douglas was disqualified from the competition earlier Friday for a technical violation.
According to the FIBT, he failed to remove the covers from his runner blades in time. All runners need to be exposed to the air 45 minutes before competition, and Douglas was three minutes late.
Douglas was sitting in seventh overall after Thursday’s opening two runs, 0.96 off the pace and with a shot at the bronze medal.
“It’s awful. It’s one of those mental lapses that you pray never happens to me and to my teammates,” said Pain.
Montgomery will receive his gold medal Saturday night at a ceremony in Whistler.
By Elvis Stojko, Yahoo! Sports
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Sorry, Evan Lysacek.
You’re a great skater and all.
But that wasn’t Olympic champion material.
In Thursday night’s men’s free skate, Lysacek skated slow and his jumps weren’t close to the technical ability of defending Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko.
How can you be Olympic champion when you don’t even try the quad? If you’re going to take the quad out, why not take out another triple axel and just have more of the other stuff so the International Skating Union can make it more into an “art” recital.
Plushenko had a great performance. His footwork was great and maybe his spins weren’t quite as good as Lysacek’s, but it wasn’t that big of a difference. He also had a quad toe triple toe that wasn’t even attempted by anyone else. He did both triple axels, so all the jumps were there.
But the judges’ scoring was ridiculous.
Because of it, the sport took a step backward. Brian Boitano did the same thing, technically, in 1988. There are junior skaters who can skate that same program.
And the judges’ scoring probably killed figure skating because kids now are going to see this and say, “Oh, I don’t need a quad. I can just do great footwork for presentation marks and do a couple of nice spins and make it to Olympic champion.” With that type of scoring, you don’t have to risk it. You can play it safe and win gold.
In what other sports do you have to hold back in order to win?
The International Skating Union has taken the risk out of figure skating and it makes me sick.
If Plushenko had made some mistakes, then sure, maybe Lysacek deserves gold. But when you take the risk out of skaters’ programs, it doesn’t compute to me.
And it’s not a personal thing. I like Evan. But when you compare performances and have an outcome like this, the sport is going backward. And it hurts me to say it because I love this sport. But the judges made a mockery of it by giving Lysacek the gold.
I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade because it’s not the skaters’ fault. It’s the system. And the figure skating community wants to control who wins and who loses. And what it does is it makes the component score more valid than the jumps so it can control whatever it wants. And that’s exactly what happened Thursday night at Pacific Coliseum.
How can the sport be put back on the right path? I have no idea. I haven’t even thought about it. It’s not up to me. Because people at the ISU obviously seem to know what they’re doing. Well, they think they know what they’re doing.
For me, the outcome on Thursday night was disappointing.
A few more thoughts on the men’s free skate:
• I thought Daisuke Takahashi was awesome. He tried the quad and he had the guts to go for it, and he should’ve been ahead of Lysacek in that aspect.
• Johnny Weir was great. He should’ve been higher than sixth – above Patrick Chan, who was fifth. Weir outskated Chan. He might’ve skated a little bit slow but he went out there and did his stuff. I feel bad for him.
• People say I’m hammering certain skaters. I’m not. It’s the system I don’t like and if you say I am biased … I already said I am not a fan of Weir’s skating, but he skated well tonight and deserved to be ahead of Chan.
In addition, Takahiko Kozuka – my favorite skater – did not get the points he deserved. He skated great, had awesome spins, the best edges in the competition, was very close with the quad and did a ton of triples.
Figure skating gets no respect because of outcomes like this. More feathers, head-flinging and so-called step sequences done at walking speed – that’s what the system wants.
I am going to watch hockey, where athletes are allowed to push the envelope. A real sport.
By Paul Waldie, The Globe and Mail – CTV Olympics Online
VANCOUVER – The head of the Canadian Olympic Committee has acknowledged Canada’s Olympic team will have a tough time meeting its goal of finishing on top of the medal standings because of strong performances by some other countries.
The Canadian team entered Thursday’s round of competition in fourth spot. The United States had a particularly strong showing Wednesday, taking six medals, including gold in downhill skiing, speed skating and halfpipe, and are predicted to win many more.
“The Americans have raised the bar a little bit because they have over-performed in a few sports,” said Chris Rudge, the COC’s chief executive officer. “I think we thought we’d be around fourth right now.”
Before the Games, Mr. Rudge said Canada’s goal was to finish first in the medal standings, and he estimated that would take between 28 and 34 medals. Thursday, he said the strong start by the Americans could change things.
“The Americans are out of the box fast. I give them all the credit,” he said. “We’re on our plan; others are slightly ahead of theirs.”
Canada has come under intense scrutiny during the Games because of the bold COC prediction and the $113-million Own The Podium program, which is supposed to develop medal contenders.
Some countries have criticized the program, saying Canada unfairly restricted access to Olympic venues before the Games to give Canadians an edge. Olympic organizers have denied the claims, arguing Canada gave as much access, or more, as other Olympic hosts.
Mr. Rudge said he has no apologies for making the prediction and still believes Canada has a chance to finish first.
“We have had this self-effacing quality that we didn’t stand up and talk about our goals and ambitions,” he said. “I think [we are] talking about it because we believe we can achieve it … By setting a high goal, you elevate your game.”
He defended the money spent on Own The Podium, saying it is still far less than what other Group of Eight countries spend on Olympic athletes. “I don’t have any qualms about saying this is something that we are going to be supporting,” he said.
Mr. Rudge said Canada has better medal opportunities later in the Games – in freestyle skiing, long- and short-track speed skating, not to mention hockey and curling – but he conceded finishing first will be difficult if the Americans and others continue to outperform expectations. He also noted that other powerhouses such as Russia and Norway have not done as well as expected and could surge ahead as the Games go on.
“Right now the Americans and Germans are way out,” he said. “We are not in the strong part of our program. It comes at the end.”
He also pointed out that during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Canada went eight days without winning a medal and still captured 18, six more than during the previous Games.