CTV and TSN are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and TSN.ca looks back at all the memories every day from Day 1 through Day 17.
Day 17 - Sunday, February 28, 2010
The final chapter. And what a way to cap things off.
It was already going to be an emotional time in Vancouver. After a two-week party with international flavour, it was just about time to get into a reflective mood, with the Games set to close that night in what would surely be a spectacular closing ceremony. But first, there was some business to tend to.
Ah yes, that little gold medal hockey game. Canada vs. the U.S. Everything on the line. No one would be quite ready to look ahead to the closing of the Games until this matter had been taken care of. A clash between two hockey rivals was to be the last event of Vancouver 2010; the scene was set for a truly dramatic finish.
And the game did not disappoint.
After 59 minutes of a hard-fought battle, the great white north was up 2-1 with less than a minute to go. That's when the U.S. forced overtime with 25 seconds left in regulation on a goal by Zach Parise. South of the border, they were going nuts. North of the border it was a different story. As the buzzer sounded to end the first 60 minutes of play, the teams adjourned to their dressing rooms for a nerve-wracking 15-minute intermission while people across both nations bit their nails in anticipation.
As overtime started, every rush and every shot was greeted by those in attendance and the millions watching at home with clenched fists and stunted breathing. Then, 7:40 into the extra frame, it happened.
Jarome Iginla made a sweet feed from the boards to Sidney Crosby, who fired the puck past American goaltender Ryan Miller. And the ground shook across the entire country of Canada. The miraculous tally not only won them the gold medal in hockey, it closed the Games in the most dramatic way possible and also cemented Crosby's place (and the entire team's spot) in hockey history.
It was the perfect storybook ending for Canucks. In fact, it simply could not have been written better by even the most idealistic Canadian heading into those Games in Vancouver.
The goal in itself was a stand-alone, singularly spectacular moment. But the bigger picture it was a part of and the overall legacy it helped to create was simply the icing on the cake. Back on February 15, Alexandre Bilodeau had won Canada's first gold medal ever on home soil. Now, just a few weeks later, Canada had ended the tournament with 14 golds, the most for any country at any Winter Olympics, truly "owning the podium". For the last event of the Games to see Canada win the gold medal in men's hockey on a tally by Crosby, the leader of the next generation of hockey players in Canada, was truly something special.
Naturally, Canadians were in a jovial mood when the closing ceremony took place at BC Place Stadium later that night. It had been a huge party and this was the send-off.
The ceremony was a colourful, fun and partially tongue-in-cheek display of unbridled Canadiana, complete with giant mounties, beavers and hockey pucks. From the ground, a mime pulled out the stubborn torch that had refused to launch due to mechanical failure at the opening ceremonies two weeks earlier. It was a humourous and self-effacing move, typically and charmingly Canadian. The Olympic flag was handed off to the mayor of Sochi, Russia, the host city of the 2014 Winter games.
The closing ceremonies were also a showcase for some of the creative talent Canada had to offer; Avril Lavigne performed, as did k-os, Nickelback, Simple Plan, Michael Buble, Hedley, Alanis Morissette, Marie-Mai, actors Williams Shatner, Catherine O'Hara and Michael J. Fox, and rock legend and icon Neil Young.
And with that, the nation and the globe bid farewell to a thrilling two weeks of competition, athleticism and excitement in Vancouver. It may be hard to believe, but it was one year ago that Vancouver turned out the lights on one of the greatest sporting events ever held. Here's to the memories.