What a Wednesday

It was hard to keep up with the action yesterday as Canadian Olympians captured four medals – tying the country’s winter record for most in one day.

In Whistler, ladies bobsleigh athletes had an exceptional finish, winning gold and silver – and triggering the first North American sweep ever (the U.S. took bronze). In Richmond, Clara Hughes’ bronze in 5,000 metres took on great significance. And in Vancouver, the ladies short track 3,000-metre relay team won silver, Canada’s sixth straight medal in this event.

First to Whistler, where Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse drove the Canada 1 sled to gold. Like Jon Montgomery did in skeleton, they poured it on for four excellent runs. They set a new track record in heat one, heat two and then heat three. Humphries and Moyse were fastest in all but the final heat – surpassed there only by Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown. Their Canada 2 teammates rode increasing momentum to a silver medal. After each heat, Upperton and Brown went from fifth to fourth to third and finally to second spot.

These are the first two medals ever won by Canada in women’s bobsleigh – an Olympic first delivered with an exclamation mark. And it is the 10th time ever that Canada has won two medals in the same event.

“The goal I set as a little kid, to have done it is amazing,” Humphries said.

In short track speed skating, Jessica Gregg, Kalyna Roberge, Marianne St-Gelais and Tania Vicent put on a great show and won silver in the 3,000 m relay event. Their time of 4:09.137 was second only to China’s world record pace of 4:06.610. They said afterward the tactic was to let China and Korea –
disqualified in the final – battle it out and take advantage of any mistakes.

Canada has won a medal at every Olympic Games this event has been contested, winning gold in 1992, silver in 1994, bronze in 1998, bronze in 2002 and now back-to-back silver medals in 2006 and 2010. For St-Gelais, it is her second silver medal of the Games, alongside the one she earned in the 500 metres.

It was a star-studded affair as Canada’s hockey team faced a powerful Russian team that had its sights set on gold. Rekindling a fierce rivalry that dates back years, Canada rose to a major challenge and defeated the reigning world champions 7-3 in the quarter-finals.

The gutsy, impressive win was punctuated by speed, grit, pinpoint passing, beautiful goals and solid goaltending by Roberto Luongo – who plays for the hometown Canucks in the National Hockey League. While one plotline featured Canada’s Sidney Crosby and Russia’s Alex Ovechkin, scoring for Canada were Corey Perry (twice), Ryan Getzlaf, Dan Boyle, Rick Nash, Brenden Morrow and Shea Weber.

Canada Hockey Place was filled to the rafters as this country enjoys an Olympic hockey tournament on home soil. Last night, they enjoyed Canada’s first Olympic win over Russia or the Soviet Union since 1960.