by: Hassan Barzani (UTSA)
The 2010 Winter Olympics officially ended last Sunday night, capping a roller coaster 17 days of competition in Vancouver. The mix of positives and negatives suggests that history will regard the Vancouver Olympics as a flawed success. The United States won the most medals in Vancouver with 37, but Canada ended the Winter Games with the most gold medals.
The press has declared the U.S. the winner of the medal count, but the International Olympic Committee will rank Canada at number 1 by virtue of those 14 gold medals. By the United States winning 37 medals at these Olympics, this surpasses the 36 total medals that Germany won at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games for all-time. For years, the media has used total medals to determine the winner of the medal count. It’s an imperfect system in which a country winning six bronze medals would be ranked ahead of a delegation bringing home five gold’s.
Another highlight from the games was on the staking rings in front of the Canadian crowd. One of them occurred when Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette skates two days after mother’s death. Rochette found out her mother died just 60 hours before she was set to take to the ice in the women’s figure skating competition. Despite all the adversity, she cried on the ice as the hometown crowd delivered a standing ovation, winning a shocking bronze medal. Then the hockey game of a lifetime and the gold medal game was the United States versus Canada. Besides the United States best player and MVP of the tournament Ryan Miller gave it his all but it was not enough for Canada’s star Sydney Crosby whose game winning overtime goal gives Canada the gold in hockey . The final score of the game was Canada 3 and USA 2.
Of course we cannot forget the ups and downs between Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso at these games. The two most decorated American skiers in history won a combined four medals in Vancouver, including a surprise 1-2 finish in the downhill. At the same time, it was an on-course spat that provided the pair’s most memorable moment of the Games. With skiers going off every minute from the gate, Mancuso unknowingly began while Vonn, who skied the previous run, was receiving medical attention following a crash. Mancuso’s great start was negated and she had to race later in the competition when course conditions had worsened. She finished 18th in the run and cried at the bottom of the hill. Lindsey Vonn won a gold in the downhill combine and a bronze in the super-g while Julia Mancuso won a pair of silver medals in the downhill as well as the combine.
Finally, Korean wipeout leads to American medals. There was nothing standing between three South Korean short-track speed skaters and a clean sweep in the men’s 1,500-meters final. Nothing except themselves, the two Korean skaters tripped each other meters from the finish line. These opened door for two Americans, Apolo Anton Ohno and J.R. Celski to sneak onto the podium. Despite Apolo Anton Ohno winning not only three medals at these games and winning eight medals at a winter games through his historic career, but he also left these games with a big ouch in front of his name.
Ohno finished the 500 m final in second place behind Canada’s Charles Hamelin. However, he was disqualified after impeding Francois-Louis Tremblay of Canada around the final turn and the silver medal went to Sung Si-Bak, with Tremblay taking the bronze. At the same time Apolo Ohno won a silver medal and a pair of bronze at these games.
This years 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games will be in our memories for a lifetime and will continue to inspire future athletes to be apart of tradition. It would be epic if myself and millions of others attended these games, but we will have to wait until 2014. The 2014 Winter Games will be in Sochi, Russia from February 7th -23rd , so see you all then!