Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics — Day 10 review

By Paul Hurst
bode miller

Bode Miller (Photo: Thomas Grollier)

Canada Hockey Place became a sea of red and white last night, but the evening ended in disappointment for the partisan crowd.

Many Canadians were hoping that their women defeating the USA on the curling rink in the morning would be a good omen, but in the biggest game of the Ice Hockey tournament so far, the United States stunned the hosts with a 5-3 victory.

Canada fell behind after just 41 seconds, to a Brian Rafalski goal, and never led in the game.

The US held on to a 3-2 after the second period, despite coming under constant pressure from wave after wave of Canadian attacks. Canada spent a lot of time on the puck, and had almost twice as many shots as the Americans – 45 shots to 23. However their real problem was converting their dominance into clear-cut scoring chances, which, for all their possession, they failed to do.

American goaltender Ryan Miller had a fantastic game, particularly in the final minutes, making save after save to keep the Americans ahead. This was in contrast to Canadian veteran Martin Brodeur who was well below par, with mistakes that led directly to American goals.

Canada’s other problem was giving up needless penalties, and as they looked to tie the game up in the third, gave up a power play goal to double the American lead. Sidney Crosby pulled a goal back for Canada with just over three minutes to go, but Ryan Kesler sealed the victory for the Americans with an empty-net goal.

The result makes the USA the number one seed in the tournament, giving them a bye to the quarter-finals. Conversely, Canada must now beat Germany in a playoff, or their tournament is over. The team will come under intense scrutiny before then, most notably Brodeur. Already, murmurings in the Canadian media suggest he may be replaced by Roberto Luongo for Tuesday’s elimination match.

At Whistler Creekside, Bode Miller completed a full set of Vancouver 2010 medals, adding the Men’s Super Combined gold, to his bronze in the Downhill and silver in the Super-G. Croatian Ivica Kostelic claimed silver, with Switzerland’s Silvan Zurbriggen in third.

The 32-year-old sat in 7th place after the downhill leg, behind some stiff competition. However a brilliant run of 51.01 on the slalom course put him into the lead. He had to wait it out whilst the remaining six skiers completed their runs. His gold was finally sealed when last man Aksel Lund Svindal failed to finish the course, unable to add another medal to his own gold and silver from last week.

Andre Lange, piloting Germany 1, won a record fourth Olympic Bobsleigh gold medal, as the Germans continued their dominance at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The overnight leaders never looked like coughing up their advantage, and two more almost flawless runs sealed their victory by 0.22 seconds from their fellow countrymen aboard Germany 2. Russia 1 took the bronze, a further 0.64 seconds behind.

Lange adds this gold to his two-man gold from Salt Lake City, and victories in both two and four-man in Torino. He has every chance of winning yet another medal this week, as he pilots Germany 1 in the four-man event, which gets underway on Friday.

Making its Olympic debut, Ski Cross quickly became a crowd favourite yesterday. The new event, taking place on the same course as the Snowboard Cross at Cypress Mountain, featured some brilliant technical skiing, and a number of spectacular crashes.

Switzerland’s Michael Schmid claimed the inaugural gold, followed by Andreas Matt of Austria in second. There was disappointment for Canada as Christopher Delbosco finished fourth.

He got off to a bad start, and trailed for much of the race. He fought back, and had moved up into third place when he clipped a gate as he went over a big jump and landed heavily on his side. Norway’s Auden Groenvold came through to claim the bronze.

The hosts did pick up a medal in the Ladies’ 1500m Speed Skating, but had to settle for silver, as Kristina Groves finished in second behind Ireen Wust of the Netherlands.

In Biathlon, Russia won gold in the Men’s 15km Mass Start, through Evgeny Ustyugov. They also claimed silver in the Women’s 12.5km Mass Start, with Olga Zaitseva finishing 5.5 seconds behind Magdalena Neuner of Germany.

On Monday, there is Ski Jumping action, as medals are awarded in the Men’s Team Event. Also at Whistler, the Men’s and Ladies’ Team Sprint events in the Cross Country will take place in quick succession.

Britain’s Men and Women are in action at the Vancouver Olympic Centre in the Curling. Canada will also be hoping to inflict some small measure of revenge early in the day, as their Men take on the USA in the morning session.

The marquee event of the day will take place with Figure Skating at the Pacific Coliseum, as the Ice Dance reaches its conclusion.

Both British couples look out of contention, but received tremendous support last night. The crowd even booed the judges when they awarded what was perceived to be a harsh score to Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland during the Original Dance.

The final segment — the always eventful Free Dance — gets underway at 4.45pm (12.45am UK) on the BBC and British Eurosport.

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