The Top 20 American Stories at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics
There were many stories at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics that touched us all, inspired us to cheer and instilled nationalistic pride.
Evan Lysacek's narrow victory in Men's figure skating, the Alpine Ski Team and Nordic Team skiing like they never have before and the USA Bobsled team garnering their first Gold Medal in 62 years, the United States had an amazing Olympics.
Narrowing the top moments into a list was difficult. Here are the top 20 American Stories at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
20) J.R. Celski's Captures Two Medals After Return From Injury
At the US Olympic trials for Short Track, Celski sliced open his own leg after a fall. He lost a lot of blood and required surgery on his leg. There were questions if he could recover in time to contend for a medal in Vancouver.
After a crash by the two Koreans in front of Ohno and Celski capitalized by earning the Silver and Bronze medals in the 1500 meters. Celski and Ohno also led the US team to a bronze in the 5000 meter relay.
19) Katherine Reutter Earns Silver in 1000 Meters in Short Track
Katherine Reutter became interested in Speed Skating after meeting fellow Champaign, IL native Bonnie Blair four years ago. Reutter had been skating since she was four, but learned she prefers short track to figure skating.
After anchoring the US team to a bronze in the 3000 meter relay, Reutter followed it up with a silver in the 1000 meters. Those medals were the the first for the United States in short track since 1994 in Lillehammer.
18) Speed Skating Team Persuit Upsets by the Men and Women
The favorites to win Gold in the Speedskating Team pursuits were the Dutch men and the Canadian women. In under an hour's time, the American Men and Women both scored huge upsets. The Men were led by five time Speed Skating medalist Chad Hedrick in shocking the Dutch in the semifinals.
The win was amazing against a country that follows speedskating religiously.
The women preceded the men's victory by shocking the homestanding Canadians in the semifinals. The women were led by four time Olympian Jennifer Rodriguez.
The women finished out of the medals after losing in the semifinals and bronze medal match. The men lost out on Gold by .23 of a second to finish with the Silver.
17) Kearney Upsets Canadian Heil to Capture First US Gold
Jennifer Heil entered the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as the favorite in the women's Moguls to become Canada's first Gold medalist on home soil. Kearney entered Torino as the favorite for Gold in 2006, but failed to qualify for the final round. Kearney had the best scoring in qualifying, earning her the spot as the last skier in the final round. She earned a near perfect 26.63 and the Gold.
16) Women's Hockey Avenges Loss to Sweden in Semi's and Regains Silver
After shocking Canada to win Gold the first time that a Gold medal was awarded in women's Ice Hockey, its been all Canada since. The Canadians defeated the Americans 2-0 in the Gold Medal game. The U.S. and Canada dominated before facing each other. They outscored their opponents by a combined 87-4 margin.
The U.S. was led by All-Olympic stars Angela Ruggiero and Molly Engstrom on Defense and forward Jenny Potter on offense. Engstrom earned the tournament's most outstanding defenseman award. US Goaltender Jessie Vetter was also outstanding only allowing five goals in five games.
15) White and Davis Get Silver Medal in Ice Dancing
The Ice Dancing competition in Vancouver was going to be the year that North American broke through a captured a Gold Medal. The 2010 Olympics marked the tenth time Ice Dancing had been contested at the Olympics. The U.S. and Canada had combined for only three Silver and Bronze medals out of a possible 27.
Ben Agosto and Tanith Belbin returned as the defending Silver Medalists. Charlie White and Meryl Davis from the United States and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from Canada in addition to Agosto and Belbin were all medal contenders entering Vancouver.
Moir and Virtue brought home Gold as part of the Canadian record haul. White and Davis earned the Silver. Belbin and Agosto just missed out on bronze by four points.
14) Seth Wescott repeats his Gold in the Snowboard Cross
Wescott won the inaugural snowboard cross in Turino in 2006. In Vancouver he had to come from fourth to earn his second consecutive Gold. He passed Vancouver favorite son Mike Robertson to post wins in the first two snowboard cross events at the Olympics.
13) Julia Mancuso earns two Silver Medals
Mancuso entered Vancouver as the defending Olympic champion in the Giant Slalom. Mancuso's great run in the downhill appeared to be good enough to capture Gold before Lindsay Vonn bested her time by half a second to nudge the Lange girl into the silver. Mancuso's second silver came in the super combined behind Maria Reisch of Germany.
12) Vonn crash causes Mancuso to repeat her run
After earning a Gold in the downhill and Bronze in the Super G, Lindsay Vonn's Olympics took a turn for the worse. The Giant Slalom was the most bizarre of her not being able to finish her last three races in Vancouver. After crashing off the course in the GS, Vonn's American teammate Mancuso was up next.
Mancuso was defending Olympic champion in the Giant Slalom and a medal contender in the event again. Halfway down the course, Mancuso noticed a yellow caution flag. The caution flag meant that Mancuso had to stop her race midway through the event.
Mancuso had the re-run her event. Shaken and on a more difficult course, Mancuso finished in 18th place after the first run. She managed to move up in the eighth after the second run, but she had to large of a deficit to overcome to garner a medal.
11) Shaun White Grabs repeat Gold in the Half Pipe
White is one of the most recognized X-Games athletes and brought celebrity to the extreme sports in the Olympics. White recaptured his Gold Medal magic from the Torino games. White secured Gold with his first run. He decided to take a second run to give the fans a thrill.
Amazingly, he improved his near perfect score from 46.8 to 48.4 and set the Olympic record. He won by 3.4 points. Since White is only 23, he will probably be back to try and earn a third consecutive Gold in Sochi.
10) Shani Davis Recaptures Gold and Silver Medals
Shani Davis was one of the stars of the Torino games in 2006. In Europe, Davis is a big star as one of the world's best speedskaters. The native of Chicago didn't disappoint in Vancouver.
He duplicated his Gold and Silver medals in the 1500 and the 1000 Meters. Davis has indicated that he plans to return for his third Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
9) Apolo Ohno Captures His Eighth Career Olympic Medal
In the first decade of the 21st century, Ohno has been the biggest star in the Winter Olympics. He has been elusive on whether or not Vancouver will be his final Olympics. With a Silver and two bronze in Vancouver, Ohno became the most decorated Winter Olympian in American history with eight.
8) Bode Miller's Olympic Comeback
Miller was supposed to be the star of the American Olympic teams in both Salt Lake City in 2002 and Torino in 2006. Miller won Silver medals in the Combined and Giant Slalom in Salt Lake City and then was shut out in Turino. He wasn't touted much heading into Vancouver.
7) Linsday Vonn Overcomes ankle injury to capture downhill Gold
Every Olympics seem to have the star that NBC wants the American fans to follow. Lindsay Vonn was the appointed star for Vancouver. Her Olympics almost didn't happen. Vonn injured her ankle in training the week before the Olympics.
With the downhill pushed back because of weather delays, Vonn was able to get more rest. The rest was golden as Vonn captured the gold by about half a second over teammate Julia Mancuso. She added a bronze in the Super G.
6) Ryan Miller leads USA Hockey to the Silver Medal
Ice Hockey is not just Canada's pastime, its their passion and obsession. To them its a divine right. The Pre-Olympic favorites in Vancouver were Canada and Russia, with Sweden a strong Medal contender. Backed by Goalie Ryan Miller, the US men surprised everyone.
They defeated Canada in the final game in pool play to finish first in their group and earn the number one seed in the medal round. Miller shutout the Swiss as the Americans earned a hard fought quarterfinal victory 2-0.
They steamrolled Finland with six goals in the first seven minutes in the semifinal before posting a 6-1 win. The team captured the hearts and minds of Americans in a way we haven't seen in a generation. The Gold Medal game was the highest rated hockey game in the United States in 30 years.
The Gold Medal Game against Canada has been touted as a one of the greatest hockey games ever played. After falling behind 2-0 in the second period, a late goal in the period cut the deficit to one goal. Down late in the game, Zach Parise scored a dramatic goal with 23 seconds remaining to momentarily deflate the Canadian crowd and send the game to overtime.
Only a Goal by Canada's Golden Boy Sidney Crosby ended the American dream of the first Gold in 30 years. Miller was amazing, he posted a 1.35 Goals Against Average and .946 save percentage. Despite the overtime loss, Miller still earned the games Most Valuable Player Award.
5) US Nordic Team Gets their First Medals Ever
The United States has competed in every Winter Olympics since the Inaugural games in Chamonix, France in 1924. They have never won a medal of any kind in the Nordic Combined entering Vancouver. They went from no medals ever to dominating the Nordic Events at the 2010 Olympics.
They began by capturing Gold in the team large hill. Johnny Spillane won silver in all three disciplines of the Nordic Combined, Bill Demong earned the Gold in the Normal Hill and Todd Lodwick came out of a two-year retirement to contribute.
Demong capped off his amazing Olympics by proposing to his girlfriend shortly after winning Gold and was the American flag bearer in the closing ceremonies. From an afterthought to a world power. The Americans announced their presence in a sport usually dominated by Norway, Finland and Austria.
4) First Bobsled Gold Medal since 1948
Steven Holcomb and USA I (AKA the Night Train) won the World Championship at Lake Placid in 2009. Entering the Olympics they were one of the favorites. USA I set a track record on their first run and never looked back. Their first place finish was the first Olympic Bobsled Gold Medal for the US since 1948 in St. Moritz.
3) US Alpine Ski Team Brings Home Eight Medals
Previous to Vancouver, the best the United States had ever brought home from one Olympics was five medals. They nearly doubled that total in Vancouver. Thanks to Bode Miller, Lindsay Vonn and Julia Mancuso, the U.S. Alpine team earned eight medals in Whistler.
Andrew Weibrecht's bronze medal in the Super G was a pleasant surprise. If not for Vonn's tumble in the Giant Slalom that essentially took out she and Mancuso it's possible the total would have reached double figures.
2) Evan Lysacek narrowly wins Figure Skating Gold
After missing out on a medal in Turino with a fourth place finish, Lysacek entered Vancouver hoping to leave with some hardware. He stunned Russia by defeating Olympic legend Yevgeny Plushenko by 1.31 points to earn the first Gold Medal for the United States in the Men's skating since the last time the Olympics were held in Canada in 1988.
Brian Boitano brought home a gold in Calgary. With the win, Lysacek became the first skater under legendary coach Frank Carroll to win Gold.
1) USA wins the Winter Medal Count for the first time 1932
The last time the Olympics were in Canada, the Americans brought home only six total medals from Calgary. In Vancouver they demolished that total. Nine gold medals alone eclipsed that number.
Those nine Gold Medals ranked third to the Canadians and the Germans, but the 37 overall medals set an all time Winter Olympic total.