Top 10 Things We Learned on Day Seven of the Olympics
Day Seven of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics provided a great amount of intrigue. We learned that ideas thought to be guarantees are no longer such. That sometimes the underdog can still have his day even at the highest level of athletics. We also learned that we should continue to expect the unexpected.
With that, here are the top 10 things we can take away from Day Seven of the Olympics.
Team Canada Not So Invincible?
Team Canada sent a scare throughout the entire host country with the most narrow of victories over significant underdog Switzerland.
Canada, which had blasted Norway 8-0 in its preliminary opener, went to a shootout with Switzerland. Even then, the game went down to the wire. It took Sidney Crosby's successful attempt to give Canada the 1-0 shootout margin and a 3-2 victory.
Canada remains the favorite in the Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, but perhaps yesterday's slim victory could be a sign of things to come. Perhaps Canada isn't the buzzsaw everyone anticipated?
Women's Snowboarding Halfpipe
We learned that the Women's Halfpipe could not come anywhere CLOSE to the fireworks we saw in the Men's Halfpipe the previous night.
Throughout the final two runs for the women's snowboarding, competitors crashed like that was the sport. Every single finalist fell at one point, significantly lowering the bar of scores.
At one point the event became a comedy of errors with competitors hitting the lip of the halfpipe or seemingly unable to land tricks that should be finished with precision at the Olympic level.
Australian's Torah Bright took the gold after both Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark had unsuccessful first runs.
The U.S. Men's Hockey Team Will Play With House Money
The U.S. men's team is gaining steam. The U.S. followed up its preliminary round victory over Switzerland by routing Norway. The 6-1 victory of Norway combined with Canada's narrow escape against Switzerland could make for a very interesting showdown on Sunday when the U.S. and Canada face off.
The significant underdog Americans will have virtually no pressure heading into Sunday's showdown. Meanwhile, the entire nation of Canada will be on the edge of its seat putting a country's worth of weight on Team Canada's shoulders.
Even though both teams are through to the next round of the tournament and only seeding is at state, a loss to the U.S. on home soil would be a significant black eye.
Evan Lysacek emerged as the new dominant force of men's figure skating. Lysacek became the first American man to win gold since Brian Boitano in 1988 and the first current World Champion to win gold since Scott Hamilton in 1984.
Not only did Lysacek knock Russia from the gold medal platform for the first time in 18 years, but his identity as a skater-one of athleticism and strength-could signal a shift in the sport.
Women's Team USA Is On Fire
With it's 6-0 route of Finland, Team USA finished unbeaten and unchallenged in pool play. Team USA outscored its pool 31-1 over three games. Only Canada's 41 goals surpass the U.S.'s output.
The U.s. gets to exact some revenge when it takes on Sweden on Monday at noon local time. It was Sweden that knocked the U.S. out in the semifinals in Torino.
Norway Regains Its Dominance
Two gold medals and a silver in one day's worth of Biathlon events helped Norway save face in the one of the many disciplines that feature cross-country skiing, something the country has dominated as long as there have been Winter Games.
Emil Hegle Svendsen took the gold in the Men's 20-kilometer Individual Biathlon. Teammate Ole Einar Bjoerndalen shared the silver medal with Belarus' Sergey Novikov in a dead-heat photo finish.
Norway also claimed supremacy in the Women's 15-kilometer Individual Biathlon thanks to Tora Berger.
Lindsey Vonn Is Human
Lindsey Vonn overcame her shin injury to blaze her way to the gold medal in the Women's Downhill. Yesterday, Vonn crashed in the second leg of the Super Combined and placed out of medal contention.
Vonn was right on pace to at least win silver when her right ski hooked around a gate and tore her ski off. Vonn harmlessly fell, but her struggles in the Super Combined are nothing new.
Vonn has never medaled in the event on the World Cup circuit, yet we could not help but be disappointed by the sight of her crash.
Curling Just Isn't for U.S.
The U.S. men's and women's curling teams are a combined 0-7. On top of that, the men's curling team has lost its matches in the ugliest of fashions. U.S. captain John Shuster misfired on three crucial throws in three of those matches which have directly led to American losses.
Curling has been all over our television sets this week, bu the U.S. has certainly not given us anything to watch with late failure seemingly inevitable.
Down Crown Them Anything Yet
Team Canada narrowly escaped a loss, but Team Russia could not in its 2-1 loss to Slovakia. Slovakia put up a fight against potential tournament sleeper Czech Republic, but very few expected them to topple Team Russia and its three lines of NHL All-Stars.
Slovakia took Team Russia to a shootout, but Alexander Ovechkin went 1-for-3 in the shootout, missing his last two, and Ilya Kovalchuk and Evgeni Malkin both missed their shots. Pavol Demitra followed Malkin's miss with the game-clincher.
Team Russia needs at least a tie this Sunday against the Czech Republic or hope for a Slovakia loss to Latvia to advance. It is a position no one thought Team Russia would find itself just seven days ago.
Canada had never won gold on its own soil before. One week into the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, Canada now has three gold medals after speed skater Christine Nesbitt won gold in the 1,000-meter Speed Skating.
Canada now sits fourth in the overall medal count and the gold medals are not too hard to come by.