Wow, what a way to end it! Since day 10 of these Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Canada really turned up the heat to propel themselves into the third spot in the medal count – and they did it with style.
Here are the top five nations to end the games:
Riding the backbone of their home crowd, the Russians certainly showed their swagger to take top spot. Even though they were devastated with their ice hockey result, Russia has to be very proud how the remaining athletes pulled together to win their country over.
Norway started strong and finished strong – much like many of their cross country and biathlon skiers – who picked up an astounding 17 of their 26 medals.
The United States took some crushing blows in ice hockey as well, however, they finished off with a collective 28 medals. With medals distributed across the board, the States have to be happy with the camaraderie of their Olympic team as a whole – needless to say, probably not with that silver in Women’s ice hockey!
Fifth place goes to the Dutch. Might as well plop a silhouette of a speed skater on the nation’s flag because the Netherlands managed to pick up 24 medals – all of which were speed skating events. Ridiculous.
Finally, CANADA. What a 17-day ride this has been. Regardless of any result, I’d like to start by saying that everyone in Canada is proud of our athletes. We showed courage, we showed emotion, and we gave it our all. Good on ya’!
Climbing up the standings, Canada certainly saved their best for last. Since that day 10 marker, Canada managed to pick up nine medals – six of them being gold!
The streak of medals started with freestyle skier Mike Riddle, who managed to flip his way into a silver medal in the Men’s ski halfpipe. The freestyle ski team closed out their incredible run by picking up two medals in the Women’s ski cross as well – Marielle Thompson took home the gold and Kelsey Serwa nabbed a silver – sealing off an astounding nine medals for freestyle skiing.
Coming into the games, the tandem of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse were heavy favourites in the bobsled – and they did not disappoint! The pair took home gold, after sitting in second for three of four heats behind the Americans, they clawed their way into the top spot to reach the top of the podium.
The Canadian curling teams were dominant. Besides the first two matches for the Men’s, the teams crushed the rest of the field. Jennifer Jones and the women’s team took advantage of a Swedish mistake – beating Sweden 6-3 in the final. The men’s team defeated Great Britain handily, ending in a 9-3 result – notching two gold medals in curling.
After we saw our beloved Charles Hamelin go down in the qualifiers for the Men’s 500 metre short track event, all we could think about was that it was a crushing blow. However, teammate Charle Cournoyer battled through the heats to the final – picking up a bronze medal for Canada.
And finally…hockey. Our nation’s game and the reason why we were all up at ungodly hours of the morning/night – in the end we were triumphant. After tremendous pressure all over the world to take home gold or nothing at all, our Women’s and Men’s hockey teams made us proud – picking up golds in both events.
The Women’s team got the momentum train going – after being down 2-0 to an aggressive United States squad – Canada battled back. With the help of a lucky bounce, Brianne Jenner managed to cut the deficit to 2-1. Then, Canada pulled the goalie and called a timeout with under a minute to play. After a faceoff win in the offensive zone, Marie-Philip Poulin finished off a pretty pass by sliding one home to tie the game.
In OT, the States came out strong, however Shannon Szabados stood tall and shut the Americans out. The Canadians would then find themselves on the powerplay, where Poulin would finish off some strong puck movement to seal a win and lift everyone out of their seats. The game was a thing of beauty – as Don Cherry would say!
The Men’s game wasn’t as emotional – however put a smile on our face nonetheless. Canada’s key performers coming into the tournament were pretty quiet on the stat sheet for most of the games – but they showed for this one – and that’s all that matters.
Jonathan Toews started the scoring by redirecting a Jeff Carter pass through the wickets of Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-0. ‘Sid the Kid’ brought Canada to their feet, finishing off a breakaway with style, sliding it home to make it 2-0. And finally, Chris Kunitz showed nonbelievers that he belonged on the ice, snapping a howitzer past the Swedish netminder to seal a 3-0 victory and claiming the top spot on the podium.
All in all, regardless of medal standings, the Olympics are always fun to watch. Seeing sports that are rarely televised and watching no-names become household names, these games are always a special moment. These athletes have certainly made us proud and stole our hearts – but more importantly – inspired the next generation to be better than they were.
See you in Rio!
photo credit: mulgrave.com