What an amazing Friday night at the Olympics! Talk about Own the Podium – Canada leads the Gold medal count with 10 Golds! We are now in 3rd position in the medal standings, with 21 medals, behind USA and Germany. I am so proud of our Canadian athletes, who have been able to deliver the results under tremendous pressure – and of course tremendous support as well. And we are still in a position to earn a minimum of at least 3 more medals (Gold or Silver) – details in What to Watch.
The first event of the evening was the Gold medal match in Women’s Curling, Canada vs Sweden. The Swedish skip is the defending Gold medalist, World Champion and has a 76% winning record in over 200 international games. A tough record to contend with. Cheryl Bernard, Canada’s beautiful and very talented skip, was a rookie coming into these games. I will admit, I have a new respect for curling after watching this match. It was a great game! Canada actually stole points from 2 different ends, and ended up with a 6-5 lead in the 10th end. A mistake by Canada allowed Sweden to tie. They went into an extra end, Canada with the hammer (last shot). Sadly, it was not to be, and the Swedes had 2 rocks in the house when Bernard took her last shot, she cleared one, but didn’t have enough to clear the other. Silver medal for the Canadian team. You could see the disappointment in their faces when they accepted their medals. It’s a tough position to be in – in team sports the Silver medal is actually the loser (Bronze had to win their game for the medal). It’s the first time Canada has ever gotten the Silver in Women’s Curling and for Bernard’s first visit the Olympics – we are so proud of what she accomplished!
The main event started a few minutes later, Men’s Semi-Final Hockey, Canada vs Slovakia. WHAT A GAME!! Things looked really good in the first period, Canada off to a great start with a 2-0 lead after the 1st period. The Slovaks played tough game, really crowding the neutral zone and making it nearly impossible for Canada to break away. The Canadians still out-shot the Slovaks nearly 2-1 through the 2nd period. End of the second period, Canada leads 3-0. As the 3rd period wore on, you could tell that the Slovaks were down, but not out. Just the opposite, they seemed to be gaining strength and the passion they are known for was really shining through. As the crowd started to cheer “we want U.S.A.” (i.e. to play them in the Gold medal game), Slovakia scored. The game continued, the puck moving from one end to the other, Canada taking the shots but nothing in the net. A short time later, Slovakia scores – again! Now we are starting to feel it – 3-2, with about 5 min left in the period. They were not going down with a a very tough fight. The last minute of the game was a total nail biter. It was amazing (yes, we were yelling at the screen). As the seconds dwindling and the puck was dangerously in the Canadian end, we held them off and the buzzer sounded. I believe there was a sign of relief from the crowd. Canada wins, 3-2 and moves on to the Gold Medal game against the USA.
Meanwhile, our men were dominating in Short Track speed skating. Having yet to get a medal, they were hungry. We are known for our very powerful short track speed skaters and this year is no exception. During the intermissions of the hockey game, we watched the men’s races. First, the 500 m sprint. Two Canadians in the final, Charles Hamelin and Francois Louis-Tremblay. Ranked 1 and 2 in the world, respectively. The famous Apolo Ono from the US was also in the race. Short Track is such a crazy spot with really strict rules about passing, touching and interfering with other skaters. About 20 m from the finish line, the Korean wiped out, knocked Louis-Tremblay down with him and Hamelin stumbled across the line first, Ono behind him for silver. The Korean skater actually slid across the line on his side, followed by Louis-Tremblay. It looked like it would be Gold for Hamelin and 4th for Louis-Tremblay. The officials reviewed the tape of the fall, and ruled that Ono had impeded the Korean skater. He was disqualified, which meant that now the Korean skater received the Silver and Louis-Tremblay, the Bronze.
Still on a high from their double medal win in the 500m. The Canadian Men’s team dominated the 5000m Relay a few hours later. It’s like roller-derby on ice if you haven’t seen it before. I love it! All of the team were VERY careful in this race, not to get DQ. There were 5 teams in the final, which makes it quite crowded. Canada, Korea, China, USA and France. About half way through the race, the Canadians took over the lead position and never looked back. They had a great strategy of doing their exchanges on the opposite side of the rink from the Koreans (in 2nd) and it really worked in their favor, especially in such a crowed race. Another Gold medal for Canada!!
Total for Friday night: 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze and the Men’s Hockey advance to the final.
What to watch:
- Speed Skating Men’s Team Pursuit Final, Canada vs US, 3:30 EST
- Curling Men’s Gold Medal Game vs Norway, 6 pm EST
- 4 man bobsleigh sitting in 2nd place after 2 runs
- Jasey-Jay Anderson, Snowboard Giant Slalom starting at 3 pm EST
- Sunday – Men’s Hockey Gold Medal Game, Canada vs US 3:15 pm EST
We are guaranteed 3 medals, either Silver or Gold. What an impressive last two days of the games. Where will you be on Sunday afternoon? We’ll be watching on our big screen, with friends and family, as Canada meets the USA again, this time for the Gold!!
Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll catch you on Monday for the recap.