This is Sparkler equestrienne10's final Olympics highlights post. We'll miss you, equestrienne10! Thanks for doing such a wonderful job. Oh, and btw, equestrienne10 wants you guys to know that all the links in this post are to videos. Enjoy! —SparkNotes editors
After 17 days of intense competition, world firsts, and epic finishes, the Vancouver Olympics ended in style. All Canadians should be proud of their country. They put on a terrific show and had me singing “Oh Canada” and planning a ski trip to Whistler by the end.
The German team won the women’s pursuit event on Saturday in stunning fashion. In the qualifying race, Anni Friesinger-Postma, a speedskating legend, stumbled on the final turn and then fell near the finish line. Postma swam over the line but believed she had lost the race for her team. She began pounding the ice in disappointment, only to find that Germany had managed to maintain its lead and had qualified for the gold medal round. The team went on to win gold against Japan with a powerful final-lap push. This was Postma’s final Olympics.
“Night Train” lane
After 62 years without a gold medal in men’s bobsled, the time was right for the US men's team to achieve victory. Steve Holcomb piloted the “Night Train,” considered to be the world’s fastest bobsled, to the fastest time. Along with Justin Olson, Steve Mesler, and Curt Tomasevicz, Holcomb ended German pilot André Lange’s reign at the top. Lange, the winningest bobsledder ever, had never lost an Olympic race and planned to retire after this year.
Down to the wire
The two longest cross-country races, the women’s 30k and the men’s 50k, both ended, rather surprisingly, with last-minute sprints. Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland became the first Polish woman to win a medal at the Winter Olympics when she edged out Marit Bjoergen of Norway in the 30k. Kowalczyk won by just 0.3 seconds. Bjoergen finished with four gold medals and one silver, making her the most decorated athlete of the Vancouver games.
The men’s 50k, the marathon of the Winter Olympics, also ended with just 0.3 seconds separating gold from silver. Petter Northug of Norway blasted past Axel Teichmann of Germany with his trademark sprint. After nearly 30 miles of brutal skiing, it’s amazing that it came down to hundredths of seconds.
There was singing and screaming in Canada Hockey Place when the final piece of a picture-perfect ending fell into place. Canada had plenty to be proud of even without hockey gold, but beating the US was pretty sweet icing on the cake. Canada took an early lead, 2-0, but the US struck back in the third period. They scored two goals to tie the game, one of them coming with just 0.24 seconds left in the period. The game went into overtime. The pace was furious, and the game ended when Canadian Sidney Crosby scored on an improbable shot. With all the talk about the youth of the American team putting them at a disadvantage, it’s somewhat ironic that the game-winning goal came from Crosby, who’s just 22 years old.
Best of the commercials
I am infinitely jealous of all those lucky, lucky people who don’t have to suffer through the agony of NBC commercials. Occasionally, though, a few good ones slip through. Here are three of the best:
Nike “Just do it”: This commercial makes me want to go run a marathon or hit a few thousand tennis balls. I know it’s a great motivator if it makes me want to exercise.
Coke snowball fight: Another cute commercial from Coke featuring the athletes getting into a snowball fight at the Olympic village.
Visa Dan Jansen: I must have seen this literally 100 times, but the combination of Dan Jansen’s story and Morgan Freeman’s voice still gives me chills.
Do svidanya, Vancouver
The atmosphere from the hockey win carried over into the closing ceremony, which felt like a big party. The only solemn note was the appropriate tribute to Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. The spoof of the opening ceremony’s mechanical problem was hilarious, the athletes seemed to be having a good time, and the Russian delegation had a nice show. The orchestra, ballet dancers, and cool video helped get everyone in the mood for 2014. Great job, Vancouver. See you in Sochi!
Where would you like to see a future winter Olympics?
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