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Sunday, February 21, 2010


As if things couldn't get any worse for the Canadian national Olympic team, Sunday night seemed to epitomize why the 2010 Winter Olympics appear to be a nightmare for the host country. They certainly did not get off to a good start when mother nature would not cooperate and the games had to be relocated from Vancouver to Whistler, Canada. Then in what happens to be one of the worst tragedies in Olympic history, a competitor in the luge event dies during a practice run. And from the outset of the games Canada was one of the odds on favorite to clean up in the medals race. As it stands, Canada is currently fourth in the medals category behind Norway. Not the US. Not the Russians. That's right. I said Norway. However, all of that pales in comparison to the 5-3 loss that the Canadian men's ice hockey team suffered at the hands of the US men's team.

From the outset, when less than a minute into the game the US scored the first goal, it appeared that the Canadian team would be in for a long day. Ryan Miller, the US goalie, had a tremendous outing, recording 42 saves against a relentless Canadian offense that features several future NHL Hall of Famers. The United States team was led by veteran Chris Drury, who, as far as I could tell, was quite possible the only NHL player on their team. Drury finished the game with two goals. Yet it was the defense and the goaltending by the US team that stole the show in Sunday's game. Canada started off fast, attempting 18 shots in the first period, but the US responded by holding them to one goal. It would be this same kind of effort in the next two periods that allowed the US team to walk away victorious. And while this victory might not have had the magnitude of the upset the US team pulled of 30 years ago, you kind of sensed that this victory was another historic moment for the United States. Not only had they used the underdog role to their advantage, but they also beat Canada for the first time in 50 years.

If Canada's loss Sunday night was symbolic of everything that has gone wrong for them in the Winter Olympics, then the US's victory was also symbolic of what is turning out to be one of the best Olympics they have ever had. They lead in the medals count with 24, and there is talk that when it is all said and done the US national team could end up with 35 medals, the most ever for them in the Winter Games. And the US has done it not only with the names you expect such as Apolo Ohno, Lindsay Vonn, and Shaun White, but it has also gotten a couple of surprises with a gold coming from Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso following up Vonn's performances with two silver medals of her own. The United States' 5-3 victory over Canada Sunday seemed to typify how far Canada has fallen and how far the US has risen during the 2010 Winter Games. But you know, we should really thank our neighbors to the north for being such gracious hosts. Let's all join in a rendition of the world's greatest national anthem: Ohhhh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hail...

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