Day 14 was a day for the ladies. But with women, stereotypically comes emotions. Although these emotions may get in the way, in this case, they were the best damn thing in the world. Even the cold were warm if not but just a few minutes.
Day 14: 25 February - Leave It to the Women
With three days left in the tournament, the best was yet to come. But this day in 2010 was a very good indication of where Canada would be in the end of it all. Although it seemed to be all about Canada, it really wasn't. But our stories were what dominated and our Canadian stereotype: perseverance, tenacity, and hard work. We are Canadian!
Like I mentioned, Canada did not medal in every medal event of the day. Take for example the women's giant slalom. Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg had the golden time of 2:27.11. The silver and second-best time came from Slovakia's Tina Maze at 2:27.15. Rounding up the medal house came Austria's Elisabeth Görgl at 2:27.25. The difference between gold and bronze: 0.14 seconds.
The positives continued to roll for the German women in the women's cross-country 4x5 kilometre relay. Norway may have had gold on their mind when the team of Vibeke Skofterud, Therese Johaug, Kristin Stormer Steira, and Marit Bjorgen was composed because that's exactly what they did at 55:19.5. Germany reaped some benefits from their team of Katrin Zeller, Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, Miriam Gössner, and Claudia Nystad who won silver at 55:44.1. Finland rounded up a good bunch of gals. Pirjo Muranen, Virpi Kuitunen, Riitta-Liisa Roponen, and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen won bronze at 55:49.9.
One of the two events that saw men win medals was the men's aerials. Belarus won gold when Aleksei Grishin finished atop of the scoring charts with a score of 248.41. USA continued to dominate on the hill with Jeret Peterson winning silver at 247.21. China complete the podium as Liu Zhongqing finished with a 242.53 score.
The other men's event was the individual large hill/10 kilometre. USA dominated the podium with Bill Demong (25:32.9) winning gold and Johnny Spillane winning silver (at 25:36.9). Austria showed their dominance on skis as Bernhard Gruber took bronze at 25:43.7.
But there were two stories that stole the show for the day and one them became one of the most infamous stories of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.
Other than searching for the first Canadian gold won on home soil, other than "owning the podium", there was another story going around: completing the Triple Hockey Gold (gold in women's, men's, and sledge hockey). A start to that was the women's golden hockey game. The bronze medal was decided earlier, being awarded to the Finnish women after their 3-2 OT win over Sweden. But the silver and gold medals were up for grabs between the two rival teams, USA and Canada. And guess how we do? We do good! We did very well. With the men's team looking on, Canada's women won the gold in a 2-0 win, both goals coming in the first period. Who expected the youngster Poulin to get the first goal? Who were those golden women? Well here they are (again):
In goal we had Charline Labonté (Greenfield Park, Québec), Kim St-Pierre (Châteauguay, Québec), and Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, Alberta). Helping out our goalie were our defence(wo)men! Tessa Bonhomme (Sudbury, Ontario), Becky Kellar (Hagersville, Ontario), Carla MacLeod (Spruce Grove, Alberta), Meaghan Mikkelson (Regina, Saskatchewan), Colleen Sostorics (Kennedy, Saskatchewan), and Catherine Ward (Montréal, Québec). But the perfect partner to the best offence (defence) is the best defence (offence). These are our golden forwards: Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ontaio), Gillian Apps (Unionville, Ontario), Jennifer Botterill (Ottawa, Ontario), Jayna Hefford (Kingston, Ontario), Haley Irwin (Thunder Bay, Ontario), Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ontario), Gina Kingsbury (Uranium City, Saskatchewan), Caroline Ouellette (Montréal, Québec), Cherie Piper (Scarborough, Ontario), Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Québec), Sarah Vaillancourt (Sherbrooke, Québec), and captain Hayley Wickenheiser (Shaunavon, Saskatchewan).
The story that stole the headlines and stole our hearts was one of a young woman by the name of Joannie Rochette. Although Joannie won bronze (her total score being 202.64) it was as good as gold, if not better. Mao Asada of Japan won silver (her score being 205.50) whilst breaking the record as being the first woman in history to land three triple axels in the same competition. Kim Yu Na of South Korea won by a landslide of 228.56, setting a new world record for the short program (78.50), a new world record for the free skate (150.06), and a world record for the highest combined score of 228.56. But it was Joannie's story that won everyone.
Joannie was by far one of the strongest women - no, Canadian - in the world. Her circumstance was tough, but was made tougher by the Olympic games. After arriving in Vancouver, Joannie's mother died shortly after. Rochette was given the option to drop-out of the competition and spend time to mourn over her mother's death, but instead she chose to persevere through it and skate in honour of her mother. She skated through two emotional days, and with help from her coaches, father, and roommate Tessa Virtue, Joannie not only won bronze, but also won the inaugural Terry Fox award, was chosen as the flag bearer in the closing ceremonies, and won Female Athlete of the Year chosen by the Canadian Press. C'est Bravo, Joannie! Vous êtes un héro pour tout le monde!