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Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

Posted on: March 2, 2010 4:32 pm
 

By Ina Fried

Thinking about the top sports moments of the Vancouver Games, there are many images that stand out, but a few performances that are etched indelibly in my brain. Two of the five are events on my list were ones got to witness firsthand and two others I covered live, albeit watching on a big screen. Over the coming days, I plan to write about my top non-sports moments of the games, as well as some of the not-so-highlights.

1. The gold medal men's hockey game.

Sure, the U.S. didn't bring home the gold, but this was an incredible game that left an entire nation (and some additional millions in the U.S.) on the edge of their seats.

After finding itself in a 2-0 hole, the U.S. crawled back, finally tying the game with 24 seconds left. More than that, there was tons of end-to-end action and an incredible crowd that extended beyond the walls of Canada Hockey Place and to every cathode ray tube and collection of pixels in Canada. Although I had an incredible vantage point from the Molson Hockey House pavilion, I'm told it was just as great outside, downtown in neighborhood pubs and elsewhere. 

A close game and a great tournament could help the NHL and might also help the league commit to working its schedule around the Olympics in the future. I was also glad to see a team win it in the overtime. From where I sit, gold medals shouldn't be decided in a shootout.

2. The "Night Train" winning bobsled gold.

America hadn't won a gold in bobsled in 62 years, until Steven Holcomb and team sped through the track at Whistler. Turning in four dominating performances, USA-1 led from the first run and continued to grow its lead throughout the two days of competition. 

The track, which Holcomb and others called the fastest and one of the trickiest in the world made for a challenging Olympic venue. Six teams crashed at some point on Day 1 of the competition, but every bobsled that started on Day 2 managed to turn in a clean run, making for an exciting conclusion.

To claim the gold, the Night Train had to pass up some steep competition including a strong Canadian team and retiring German star Andre Lange who was hoping to go out with a bang, adding yet another gold in his already prodigious collection.

And the fact that Holcomb is a big computer geek, well, that just made it even better. As one of my friends said on Facebook, Holcomb gives hope to every pudgy guy willing to wear spandex.

3. The U.S. beating Canada in men's hockey.

This game set the stage for what proved to be an exciting and wide-open tournament with many countries not expected to fare all that well offering steep competition for the highest-ranked teams. In addition to being an entertaining game to watch, the U.S.-Canada game served as a wake-up call for the Canadians and showed the Americans to be serious contenders.

Though Canada outshot the U.S. by a wide margin, American goalie Ryan Miller came up huge, allowing the U.S. to win the game, even if it appeared to be outplayed at times.

4. Women's figure skating, especially Joannie Rochette.

Clearly the emotional story of the games was Canadian Joannie Rochette, just days after the sudden death of her mother, turning in great performances in both the short and free skate to claim the bronze medal.

The women's event also saw the dominating performance of Korean Kim Yu-Na as well as very nice routines from the Japanese and American women, though there wasn't enough room on the podium for all those that skated well.

But, unlike the men's side of things, there was a lot less bickering and backstabbing once the event was over.

5. Canada's comeback in the medals race.

When the games started, Canada's goal to "own the podium," or lead the medals race seemed highly ambitious. By midway through the games, even its backers were conceding defeat. Then a remarkable thing happened.

Canada, which had failed to win a gold medal in either of the two Olympics it had previously hosted, went on a tear. In the end, Canada went on to win more gold medals -- 14 -- than not only any other country at this year's games, but more than any country at any Winter Games ever. Sure, Germany and the U.S. had more total medals, but Canada definitely managed to change Own the Podium back into a statement as opposed to a punch line.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog "
Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

 

Comments

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:48 pm
 

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

Sorry for the late comments. You make some rather interesting points. I agree with you on most accounts. It surely does seem that nations that cannot compete with the best of them are always looking for a loophole like medals won by the host country count double or something like any medals won without the host country competing in it is not valid. But that's the problem of having any country host the Olympics. Most are not trained to do so since they only do it once in a blue moon. How about this. The IOC should establish a permanent company to run the Olympics. That way everyone involved will know what to expect since they did it 4 years ago. Having a different country or group run the Olympics every 2 years is quite stupid. This idea could only have come from the Europeans. They think that having many cooks in the kitchen makes a great dish. Maybe, but not if they are mostly amateurs. Of course this would mean that the corrupt IOC would keep raising the price of their services every time because they would be the only ones allowed to run the games. I bet Samaranch wish he would have though of that when he was still alive. 



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2010 5:01 am
 

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

Don't you mean good luck to Russia? Canada isn't hosting the next winter olympics. Besides, everyone knows that only losers count gold medals as the only measure of success. I hate it when countries who cannot compete with the US or Germany have to say "well, we were after the gold medal lead after all.......no really!" Yeah right! So if these countries only value gold medals then any silver and bronze medals they win at the olympics should be forfeited because it's not good enough. The olympics is a great spectacle, but to brainwash the young children into believing that "if you don't win a gold then you are worthless" seems to be indicative of the liberal misdirection that has thoroughly permeated today's thinking. I am actually embarrassed that we gave the gold medal to the Canadians in hockey. Also what's with the judges giving Rochette a bronze when Nagasu skated much better. Oh well. At least I can take comfort in the fact that Nagasu will win Gold for the US in the next winter olympics. I am intrigued at how the men's figure skating will turn out. Plushenko is supposed to be a lock since it's in Russia 4 years from now. We all know that the corrupt IOC always want the host country to win the most medals and will do what it can to make that happen. And with Putin and his mafia ties there is no way Plushenko cannot win the gold. 



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2010 4:50 am
 

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

Ina should stick to her regular duties at cnet. She is not an expert on sports and this article underscores that fact. 



Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2010 3:22 pm
 

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

  Well done Canadians! You have made this a very nice and special Olympics.



Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2010 11:46 pm
 

Yes the memories were memorable.

A comeback for the ages, if you will for Canada, and a very successful American run. Congratulations to both. A games to remember, huge highs, and devastating lows. Thank you Canada for the glorious bonanza of Gold medals you reached down to make happen. Thank you America for the run at the Gold Medal mens hockey game. You made that so much more special. And also, a huge thank you America for Lindsay Vonn, Wowa.



Since: Feb 14, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2010 8:21 am
 

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

The "own the podium" slogan was quite embarassing for Canadians, that was a corporate twist to support the ski team. But it was put out there and the athletes and the fans were the ones that were going to have to deal with the failure. Funny twist though, like you stated, at the half way point the Organizers had pretty much given up on the whole "own the podium" thing, but certainly not the athletes or the incredible fans, they held thier line and stayed true to their Country. In the end, it was a performance of historical proportions, 14 gold medals and 3rd in the total medal count, and of course, a gold medal win in the Hockey game. Very nice post NSanelNMaine, Thank you.



Since: Oct 25, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2010 10:20 pm
 

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

Not only that but we need to commend the US on how well their athletes performed in the Olympics, top medal total haul ever for the Winter Olympics.  Most of their athletes that were predicted to do well did so, but many surprises as well.  Nicely done!




Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2010 8:45 pm
 

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

NSane,

I like your post.  We here up in Canada are so proud of what our athletes have achieved.  It's nice to read an American who compliments us rather than getting us pissed off by slamming us.  I look forward to watching our great hockey rivalry in the future.  Next years World Junior Hockey Championships are in Buffalo NY and I hope to see a Can/US final again.



Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2010 4:11 pm
 

Good thing my words are so sweet . . .

. . . . because I've been eating them.

In earlier posts I popped off about the whole "own the podium" . . . what did I call it?  Oh, yes, "delusion."  I further mouthed off about the unlikelihood of Canada winning the gold medal race, and punctuated my ignorance with the jingoistic prediction that they would not win the gold medal in hockey!  And I've toyed with the idea of posting on the Rochette bronze (I mean, c'mon, how could the judges NOT give her a medal?  I saw other more medal-worthy performances, and think the judges yielded to sentimentality.  It wouldn't be the first time in figure skating!).

But, while I don't particularly enjoy being wrong on this large a scale, I have to say that in retrospect, I'm glad I was wrong.  On all three predictions, and with respect to Rochette!  To see what it meant to the people of Canada was well worth it, and THAT will, ultimately, be my favorite memory of these games! The US is always going to do well in the Olympics.  This year, the Canadians HAD to do well, and they did.  They've every reason to be proud.

Well done, Canucks.  Good luck to you in four years.   


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com