x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Canada racks up the gold medals

Early dismissal of Canada's Own The Podium programme proves premature as they become the most successful ever hosts of a Winter Olympics.

The Canadian snowboarder Jasey Jay Anderson celebrates after winning gold.
The Canadian snowboarder Jasey Jay Anderson celebrates after winning gold.

VANCOUVER // Canada's Own The Podium programme for the Vancouver Olympics suddenly stopped looking overly ambitious yesterday when the men's pursuit team won an expected speedskating final and snowboarder Jasey-Jay Anderson won the parallel giant slalom. Thanks to a surge of victories down the Olympic homestretch, including three yesterday, Canada is assured of winning the most gold medals at the Vancouver Games. A quick succession of triumphs - by the men's pursuit speedskating team, slalom snowboarder Jasey-Jay Anderson and the men's curling team - gave Canada 13 golds. With only two events left today, no other country could catch up. And if the Canadians win their hockey showdown with the United States, they will go home with more winter gold than any nation ever. The United States, guaranteed no worse than a silver in men's hockey, will win the overall hardware count with at least 37. But Canada has put on a show in the second half of its home Olympics. If Canada wins the men's hockey game against the US, it will break the record for most gold medals at a Winter Games - the Soviet Union in 1976 and Norway in 2002 each won 13.

Meanwhile on the penultimate day of the Olympics, Giuliano Razzoli won the men's Olympic slalom race, giving Italy its first gold medal of the Vancouver Games in the last Alpine race. Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland denied Marit Bjoergen a fourth gold medal of the Olympics, beating the Norwegian in a frantic final sprint Saturday to win the 30km classical cross-country race. Legally blind Olympic skier Brian McKeever won't be racing in the 50km mass start classic race today because he wasn't one of the Canadian team's fastest four skiers.

Germany won the gold medal in the women's speedskating pursuit and Canada beat the US in the men's team pursuit final In her last Olympic race, Anni Friesinger-Postma slid headfirst into speedskating lore. With the belly flop of a lifetime, the German literally started crawling toward the finish line with her two teamamtes well ahead of her, desperately trying to stop the clock with a kick of her skate to stay ahead of the Americans in the semifinals of the team pursuit.

Steven Holcomb drove USA-1 to the Olympic gold medal in the four-man bobsledding, ending a 62-year drought for the Americans in the event. Jasey-Jay Anderson of Canada put the exclamation point on an incredible resume on Saturday, winning Olympic gold to slap some sunshine on an otherwise miserable day for snowboarding. Canada won its second consecutive gold medal in men's curling Saturday with a 6-3 win over Norway in the Olympic final.

* Agencies

Men's Curling Men's Team Pursuit Speed Skating Men's 500m Speed Skating Charles Hamelin Women's Bobsleigh Figure Skating, Ice Dance Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir Women's 1,000m Speed Skating Christine Nesbitt Men's Parallel Giant Snowboard Slalom Jasey Jay Anderson Men's 5,000m relay speed skating Ice Hockey - Women Women's Ski Cross Ashleigh McIvor Men's Skeleton Jon Montgomery Women's Snowboard Cross Maelle Ricker Men's Moguls Alexandre Bilodeau