Canada’s 10 Greatest Olympic Winter Moments

We’re opening up the time capsule, looking back on Canada’s 10 greatest Olympic Winter moments

The XXII Olympic Winter Games are just around the corner with Canadian athletes itching to take on the world and bring home some hardware from Sochi, Russia. In honor of the upcoming Games we’re opening up the time capsule to look back on some of the country’s greatest Olympic Winter moments of all time, from 10 to our number one pick.

Speed Skating to gold

Clara Hughes is the only Canadian, to date, to compete and win medals in the Summer and Winter Games. In 2006 Turin, Italy her quest for gold came to fruition when she earned top spot in the women’s 500m speed skate event. It was Hughes’ emotional skate around the track, post-race, carrying the Canadian flag on her back that struck a chord with the nation. She is one of the country’s most respected athletes with six Olympic medals; four as a long track speed skater and two in cycling.

Pain and glory

During the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, Elvis Stojko faced one of most difficult challenges of his career. He battled through the flu and a groin injury, which he refused to take painkillers for due to drug testing, to perform a powerful and inspiring long program. It was only after he completed his performance that everyone realized how much pain Stojko was in; he doubled over in agony and was helped off the ice by his coach and choreographer. During the medal ceremony Stojko limped to the podium in shoes to claim his silver medal.

Jamie Salé and David Pelletier are justified gold

In 2002, Canadian figure skating pair Jamie Salé and David Pelletier completed a perfect performance in the free skate program drawing a standing ovation from the crowd who chanted “Gold, gold, gold.” However, they were denied by the judges who ranked them in second place while their Russian competitors, who obviously made mistakes in their performance, received the gold medal. The public outrage soon after was swift and revealed a judging scandal behind-the-scenes at Salt Lake City, Utah. Salé and Pelletier were eventually awarded the gold making this a memorable moment for their composure throughout the controversy, as well as it being the first time in history that two figure skating pairs received gold medals simultaneously.

Chandra Crawford’s rendition of “O Canada”

Olympian and world champion Chandra Crawford surprised the world and the nation by winning gold in the women’s cross-country sprint (1.5 km) event, beating out more well-known teammates such as Beckie Scott and Sara Renner with a time of 2:12 minutes during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. However, it Crawford’s very enthusiastic singing of “O Canada” which captured the country’s heart, even well-respected broadcaster Brian Williams certificated her singing performance saying, “If you’re ever standing on top of the podium this is how you sing our national anthem.”

Jon Montgomery’s gold medal run

Athletes who train for skeleton lie on a small sled, head first and rocket down an icy track up to speeds of up to 5g – as in g-force! Manitoba native Jon Montgomery is fearless and at the 2010 Vancouver Games finished his race in the men’s skeleton and beat the competition by 0.07 seconds, earning him a gold medal. One of the most memorable, and unexpected, aftereffects of Montgomery’s gold medal run was his celebratory walk through Whistler Village when he was suddenly handed a congratulatory pitcher of beer, which he then proceeded to chug back in front of the cameras. How very Canadian and awesome of him!

In memory of her mother

Stories of triumph over adversary make for a very memorable Olympic moment and none other tops our list than Montréal native Joannie Rochette’s tale of personal tragedy. Just two days before she was to skate her short program at the 2010 Vancouver Games, Rochette’s mother suddenly died of a heart attack. Grief-stricken but determined to honor a dream shared with her mother, the Canadian figure skater took to the ice and put out an emotional performance earning her a bronze medal.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s perfect 10

Skating to the classical sounds of Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir entered the Vancouver Games as the national champions and were favored to be podium contenders. During the free dance portion of their program they received four 10 marks from the judges; two for performance execution and two for interpretation, an achievement never before accomplished by an individual skater or team under figure skating’s International Judging System. As a result, Virtue and Moir earned gold medals for their graceful and expert performance.

Gold on Canadian soil  

Two days into the Vancouver Games, the nation was getting antsy to add a gold medal to its record. A little known Canadian by the name Alexandre Bilodeau took to the slopes of Whistler to compete in the men’s freestyle skiing moguls event and nailed it with a time 23.17 seconds, wiping out the competition and earning a surprising gold medal. Bilodeau will go down in the country’s sports history for winning the first gold medal on Canadian soil.

Third times a charm

Two things will stop the population of Canada dead in its tracks and they are an ice storm and a hockey game. The Canadian women’s ice hockey team, the reigning two-time Olympic champions, went up against the US during the 2010 Vancouver Games. Three minutes into the first period the score was 2-0 Canada, with the first and second goals scored by forward Marie-Philip Poulin. Our ladies kept the lead for the next two periods and the nation erupted in joy when the buzzer sounded ending the game and signaling them as the gold medal winners for the third Olympics in a row.

Gold for the Canadian men’s ice hockey team

On day 17 of the 2010 Vancouver Games airplanes at Pearson International Airport were suddenly grounded and people were super glued to the TV for the men’s ice hockey final, Canada versus USA. Seven minutes into the first period Canada’s Jonathan Toews scored the first goal setting off a thunderous roar from the crowd. Teammate Corey Perry then added to the score in the second period. However, the USA quickly came back tying the score two all sending the game into sudden death. It was only in overtime that Sidney Crosby landed the winning goal. The final score was 3-2 for Team Canada and the nation erupted like a volcano. Relive the highlights of our number one pick of Canada’s most memorable Winter Olympic moment.

Tags: Sochi 2014 Olympics

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