Sadly, the games have ended — the Closing Ceremony has concluded (unless you live in the West Coast). It is time to recap and list the athletes that enjoyed the best of games, the athletes that made history, the athletes that experienced joy and honor the most while competing in these games.
The United States finished the games on top of the medal count, with 37 (nine gold, 15 silvers, 13 bronze), while Northern rivals Canada won the most gold medals after a second week surge on the heels of a failing games, bagging home 14 golds (along with seven silvers and five bronzes). It was truly a successful games for both North American entries, particularly for the Canadian hosts.
Kearney was one athlete who rebounded successfully after a disappointing performance in the 2006 Torino games — where she didn't even qualify for the finals, finishing below the top-20.
And she rebounded in a big way - winning gold in the first day of events in Mogul Skiing, upsetting Canadian favorite Jen Heil. In the event, Kearney entered the final round with a qualification score of 25.96, which gave Kearney the right to skii last in the final round. With fellow teammate Shannon Bahrke was in second place, and Heil in first, with scores of 25.43 and 25.69 respectively, Kearney skied a clean run, earning a score of 26.63 and winning the gold medal.
The run pushed Heil to silver, and Bahrke to bronze. This was America's first gold medal of the games.
Before the games, much was made of Canada's inability to win a single gold medal at previous Olympics they had hosted - the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, and the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, and again after Jen Heil lost to Hannah Kearney on the first night of the games at the womens mogul skiing.
However, Canada was going to get what they wanted in the form of Alexandre Bilodeau, who won Canada's first ever home gold after Bilodeau threw a back double full on the first jump and followed it with a back iron cross on the second. His jump and style scores saw Bilodeau scoring 26.75 points to win the gold. It helped set the stage for a successful performance for the Canadians.
Coming off a successful showing in the Torino games, winning a gold in the 1000m race and a silver in the 1500m race, Davis matched those achievements with the same results in Vancouver.
Davis won the 1,000–meter men's speed skating event, becoming the first man to win back-to-back 1,000–meter Olympic speed skating gold medals. Davis won the race in 1 minute and 8.94 seconds, finishing just .18 of a second quicker than his rival, Korean Mo Tae-Bum.
Meanwhile, Davis won silver in the 5,000m race, getting upset by Dutch entrant Mark Tuitert. Overall, Davis matched a successful 2006 games with an equally successful 2010 games, despite subpar entrys in the 5,000m and 500m races.
The Californian won the free skate with a score of 167.37, and won the gold with an overall score of 257.67, defeating Russian Evgeni Plushenko by a margain of 1.31. Lysacek became the first American to win in men's singles since Brian Biotano won gold in the Calgary Games back in 1988.
Lysacek, who also was the reigning World Champion, was the first to win Olympic gold as the reigning World Champion since Scott Hamilton won in 1984.
Coming off a medal-less 2006 games in Torino, 2010 was surely sweet redemption for the alpine skier who hails from New Hampshire.
Despite a lack of training due to an injury, Miller won three medals in these games, winning a gold in the "Combined", a silver in the "Super-G", and a bronze in the "Downhill". Miller's 2010 success came with a more-relaxed attitude heading into the games - something that directly contrasted with Miller's pre-2006 Olympic approach, where Miller was considered by some to be team USA's main attraction and poster boy.
Ohno did not win a gold medal in these games unlike in Torino, but Ohno came away from Vancouver by winning 3 medals - a silver in the 1,500m and two bronze medals in the 1,000m and the 5000m relays.
This enabled Ohno to become the most-decorated American athlete in the Winter Olympic history, with now eight medals - passing speed skater Bonnie Blair.
Ohno was helped with luck however in these games. For example in the 1,500m, Ohno was only able to medal after two Korean racers ran into each other and crashed at the track's final turn. Also, Ohno was only able to lead team USA to a medal in the 5,000m relays after team China crashed at the race's final home stretch.
Still, he is now America's most decorated Winter Olympian, a truly amazing feat.
A native of Federal Way, WA, Celski overcame an accident during the USA Trials which saw his skate almost hit his leg artery,causing serious injury, by winning two bronze medals during his first Olympic games. Celski won bronze at the 1,500m, finishing behind fellow American Apolo Ohno, and also the 5,000m relay.
Celski, an American of Filipino descent, looks like the future of American short track, as it likely seems Ohno will not come back for the 2014 Sochi games.
"Will she ski?"
"Will she sit out?"
Those were the questiosn heading into the Vancouver games - will Lindsey Vonn, who was bothered by a bruised shin.
However, thanks to the warm weather and poor snow conditions up at Whistler, Vonn managed to find time to recover, and ultimately participated in all five events she had planned to - winning medals in the downhill (gold) and the super G (bronze).
The second part of her games were less successful though, which was marred by a public spat between her and fellow American and long-time rival Julie Mancuso. Still, it was a successful games for Vonn.
Mancuso, a gold medalist in the 2006 games, was not able to match the feat in Torino, but had a fine 2010 Vancouver experience by winning 2 silvers, something which no one probably expected.
Even with struggles in the previous World Cups, Mancuso won silver unexpectedly in the women's downhill, and followed up that performance the next day by winning the other silver in the Combined. Despite a shaky second half of the games for Mancuso and much of the US women's alpine ski team, it was a fine games for Mancuso.
Lee highlighted the successful showing by the South Korean short track team, winning a gold in the 1,000m and the 1,500m events, while his relay team won a silver behind the Canadians in the 5,000m relay. This was Lee's first Olympics, and he will surely be a factor come 2014 in Sochi.
Aside from letting in Sidney Crosby's shot in overtime during the gold medal game, it was easily a tournament to remember for team USA goaltender Ryan Miller, who plays for the Buffalo Sabres. He led a young team USA, a team not many even expected to medal, put them on his back, and led them all the way to the No. 1 seed and to overtime in the final game against hosts team Canada.
Miller put forth a performance which reminded many old-time hockey fans of Jim Craig's in the 1980 games, also a goaltender, who carried team USA to hockey gold in those games. Miller fell short, but he was still honored as tournament MVP, and he was easily the top player of the tournament. Without him, Team USA does not even come close of medaling. He truly was the top factor in Team USA's run.
Holcomb, the pilot of the team USA "Nightrain" sled, enjoyed the Olympics of a lightime, leading team USA to gold, which ended a 62-year gold medal drought for the country in that sport. The "Nightrain" held off both the Germans and Canadians, both of whom were considered the favorites. The other members of the "Nightrain" included Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen, and Curtis Tomasevicz.
Olympic-winning overtime goal on home ice with every Canadian eye watching. Enough said. Ugh.