Vancouver 2010 – The performances, The stars

Vancouver 2010 - The performances, The stars

By Paul Hurst

The Olympics always provide us with some special athletes and memorable performances, and this year was no exception. Here is The Sport Review’s look at the athletes who left their indelible mark on the Vancouver 2010 Games.

Kim Yu-Na (Figure Skating, South Korea)

With so many great performances it was difficult to choose who to start off with, but Kim’s gold medal in the Ladies’ Singles was perhaps the most outstanding example of individual excellence in Vancouver.

The 19-year-old lived up to the unbelievable pressure in her home country, and then some, setting new world record scores in both elements of the skate.

Marit Bjoergen (Cross-Country, Norway)

Bjoergen was the Queen of Whistler, picking up a medal every time she strapped a pair of skis to her feet at the 2010 Games — five in total, including three golds.

Shaun White (Snowboard Halfpipe, USA)

The 23-year-old rode into Vancouver as the best in the world, and walked away as perhaps the best in the universe, winning gold with a simply jaw-dropping performance.

Alexandre Bilodeau (Freestyle Skiing Moguls, Canada)

Amidst intense media pressure in Canada about who would win their first gold on home soil, Bilodeau produced a majestic performance on Cypress Mountain to claim it.

Aksel Lund Svindal (Alpine Skiing, Norway)

Svindal picked up a medal of each colour on the slopes of Whistler Creekside, including gold in the blue-ribbon Downhill event. Bode Miller of the USA too deserves a mention here, also winning a medal of each colour.

Anja Paerson (Alpine Skiing, Sweden)

Paerson will be remembered largely for the horrendous crash she had during the Downhill, which on another day could have easily ended her career.

What should be the even more prominent memory is that she picked herself up from that crash, and skied through injury to win bronze in the Super-Combined just a day later.

Amy Williams (Skeleton, Great Britain)

Britain’s last individual Winter Olympic gold was in 1980. When it became clear after two runs that Williams had a real shot at a medal, she became the focus of the entire British media.

The 27-year-old never let that pressure get to her. She got even better on the second day, winning Britain’s only medal in Vancouver — a gold.

Canadian Men’s Curling Team

There isn’t really any point picking out one performance, or one member of the team. To be the first team to go undefeated throughout an Olympic competition, you have to be all good, all the time.

Simon Ammann (Ski Jumping, Switzerland)

Ammann was ‘King of the Hill’ winning gold by a distance in the Normal Hill, the first event of the Games. One week later, he simply destroyed the competition, winning by an even larger margin on the Large Hill.

Petra Majdic (Cross-Country, Slovenia)

Majdic won bronze in the Individual Sprint, Slovenia’s first ever Olympic medal in cross-country. Sounds quite unspectacular.

When you consider that she did it with four broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung, it is quite amazing.

In a training run earlier in the day, Majdic sustained the injuries when she fell down a 10ft gully into rocks at the side of the course. She competed, completely against the advice of doctors, in intense pain, having to be carried away from the finish area following the race.

Joannie Rochette (Figure Skating, Canada)

In bravery of a different kind, Rochette won bronze in the Ladies’ Singles, less than two days after the death of her mother, who had just arrived in Vancouver to watch the competition.

Her bronze will be remembered as fondly as most of their gold medals by Canadians for her bravery and determination to honour her mother’s memory.

Alexei Grishin (Freestyle Skiing Aerials, Belarus)

American Jeret Peterson put down the best jump of the competition. Alexei Grishin knew he couldn’t pull off one as difficult as the American’s.

So he went with the best he could do, executed it almost perfectly, came up with the near-flawless landing. That, combined with a slightly better first jump, took home Belarus’ first ever Winter Olympic gold.

Andre Lange (Bobsleigh, Germany)

Lange couldn’t win the fairytale gold in the Four-Man event, to finish his career. He can be pretty satisfied with his silver though, in addition to gold in the Two-Man, and his three previous Olympic golds.

Petter Northug (Cross-Country, Norway)

Northug’s devastating finish was pretty amazing in the sprint events. To see him pull it out at the end of the 50km event was simply remarkable. Northug takes home two gold, a silver and a bronze.

Torah Bright (Snowboard Halfpipe, Australia)

Torah Bright had the worst first run of all the boarders in the final. She rebounded, and had the best second run, scoring 45 out of 50, to take the gold back to Oz.

Canada and United States Men’s Ice Hockey Teams

Is there any point trying to single out one player from the two teams who gave us the greatest ever Olympic ice hockey final? Not really — they all combined to give a fitting end to a fantastic Olympics.

Have we missed anyone out? Let us know your thoughts on who was your star of the Games below.

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