As thousands of red-clad Canadians stood together singing “O, Canada,” citizens across our great nation expressed their dislike for our neighbors to the north, going as far as saying “Fuck Canada.” Isn’t that just sportsmanship at it’s finest?
Americans can now go back to not caring about hockey as the NHL resumes play tonight, but for a brief moment, the country was fixated on Canada Hockey Place.
And with good reason.
It was the biggest hockey game in 30 years, as Team USA tried to knock off the gold medal favorite Canada squad on its home ice. Sure, the two teams faced off in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Games, but Canada won that matchup as well.
With that in mind, it was Team USA’s turn to take the gold on Canada’s home ice. Unfortunately for the Americans, however, those in red and white dominated for much of the afternoon.
But when Zach Parise scored with less than 30 seconds to go to send it into overtime, I saw the kind of excitement that in this state is usually reserved only for the celebration of those touchdowns that are followed by Lambeau Leaps.
Making the game even more exciting was the fact that Team USA was far from the favorite in these Olympics. In fact, the Americans weren’t even expected to medal in Vancouver.
With Canada being the obvious favorite, many tabbed Russia and the Czech Republic to take home silver and bronze, respectively. Team USA, on the other hand?
Most thought if it was to medal, it would take the bronze at best. To even reach the medal round was an accomplishment for such a young, inexperienced American squad.
Reaching the gold medal game? That was just a bonus.
But that’s also the problem with being angry toward Canada over Team USA’s devastating loss — Team USA was playing with house money. You can’t be too upset over losing something you never expected to win in the first place.
At the same time, this was Canada’s moment. It was its game, on its home ice, in front of its crowd dressed mostly in red. The outcome of that game — whether good or bad — meant infinitely more to the Canadian squad than its American opponent.
Besides, Team USA already had its moment.
Defeating Canada a week earlier in the same building in impressive fashion was already a greater accomplishment than most expected for Team USA.
Conversely, the 5-3 loss was devastating to the host nation.
When the Americans flat out dominated Finland 6-1 in Wednesday’s semifinal, they guaranteed at least silver and showed they were far better than most had thought.
But Canada is to hockey what Team USA is to basketball.
In any international hockey competition, Canada is the team to beat, having won eight Olympic gold medals, a feat matched only by the Soviet Union/Unified Team. Team USA, on the other hand, has just two gold medals in Olympic hockey.
Sure, beating the heavily favored home team would have been great.
But silver isn’t too bad either.
As Americans, we like to believe we are the best at everything, especially sports. If the Vancouver Games are any indication, Team USA is the best. At finishing second and third.
Team USA’s 15 silver medals were two more than Germany’s, which finished second in finishing second. Americans also grabbed 13 bronze medals, which is nearly double the next highest total of seven bronze medals earned by Germany and Russia.
Canada, on the other hand, is the best at being the best.
With 14 golds, the 2010 host nation set a new standard, breaking the previous record of 13 set by the Soviets in 1982 and matched by Norway in 2002. Fourteen also breaks the record for most golds won by a host nation, set at 10 by Norway in 1994 and matched by Team USA in 2002.
For that, the Canadians should be proud. They fell short of the goal of their “Own the Podium” campaign, but put on the best-ever Winter Olympic Games performance by a host nation by winning the most gold medals and third-most medals overall.
Still, Team USA had its best Olympic showing to date, winning a Winter Games-record 37 total medals to lead the medal count for the first time since Lake Placid in 1932.
And the U.S. athletes won in sports Americans care about and enjoy watching — alpine skiing, snowboarding and short track to name a few.
So, let Canada enjoy this victory. Don’t curse our friendly neighbors to the north for winning Olympic hockey gold. Even if the game-winning goal was scored by the best player in OUR National Hockey League.
This was Canada’s Olympics. Although Team USA may have won the most medals, it seems clear we were just along for the ride.
“With glowing hearts, we see thee rise. The True North strong and free.”
Jordan is a senior majoring in journalism and political science. What was your favorite part of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics? Let him know at [email protected]