The Winter Olympics.
Two sports where Canada has always done well were busts this year, even though their overall medal total is high. Canada got only one silver and one bronze from Men’s and Women’s Curling and Ice Hockey, while the USA took gold in Women’s Ice Hockey and Men’s Curling. Canada did pick up a gold in the newly-added Mixed Doubles Curling competition, however.
Canada won gold in 2014, silver in 2010, and bronze medals before that. This year they went 4-5 in round robin play and were eliminated early – a huge disappointment.
Canada won the last three gold medals. They advanced to the semifinals despite their first-ever Olympic loss to the USA on the last shot of an extra end. Shockingly, they fell to the USA again in a shocker. Canada looked to settle for bronze but did not even get that, falling to Switzerland.
Women’s Ice Hockey
As everyone expected, the gold medal game was Canada vs the USA. Canada hadn’t lost an Olympics game since losing to the USA in the finals in Nagano in 1998. The USA nearly broke the streak in 2014 in the finals in Sochi, but lost a lead late in the game and then fell in overtime. Canada beat the USA 2-1 in round robin play this year, but the USA finally turned the tables in the finals. The teams traded leads, went scoreless through 20 minutes of 4-on-4 overtime, and ended up even after 5 shootout rounds. The USA finally won it in the 6th round. The game had everything, including a vicious cheap shot and a fantastic Peter Forsberg move shootout goal.
Men’s Ice Hockey
The NHL for a change didn’t agree to open up a gap in its season to let its players join their Olympic teams, so the flavor was changed a bit. Even so, no one would have expected the Canadian men to lose to Germany – Germany!?! – in the semifinals, but they did. Canada bounced back and beat the Czech Republic to take bronze.
The Dan Jansen of Curling
John Shuster was the lead on the USA’s 2006 bronze medal team and was the skip during the 2010 and 2014 debacles, where they finished last and second to last. He was effectively thrown out the door after that by the US Federation, who wanted to find someone else to send. But he formed a team and worked his way back up the ladder and eventually gained the 2018 spot. After another terrible start of 2-4, they completely flipped and won three straight to make the semifinals. Shuster made a number of great shots down the stretch, including one for 5 vs Sweden in the finals. The Swedes had been mowing everyone down until then, but John Shuster’s redemption was finally complete.
Blame it on Trump and Pence I guess
Before play got underway, three USA athletes that I can recall were trashing the President or the Vice President. Lindsey Vonn has a great history in Olympic skiing, but she came away with only a bronze medal. Adam Rippon managed a bronze medal in Team Figure Skating after he finished in 10th place in his part. Gus Kenworthy ended up with a broken thumb, a huge bruise, and no medals. I’ll let you look up links to them on your own.
Do you have any favorite moments? Forget the North Korean cheerleaders – the South Korean Women’s Curling team maybe?