An entire nation breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday as Canada finally wins a gold medal on home soil, courtesy of freestyle mogul skier Alexandre Bilodeau.
The Rosemere, Quebec native came into the medal round as the second-to-last skier to go, facing the task of dethroning reigning Olympic gold medalist Dale Begg-Smith of Australia, who sat atop the leader board. Bilodeau finished with one of the fastest times and nailed his difficult jumps to win with a score of 26.75.
Bilodeau’s win ends Canada’s distinction as being the only nation to host multiple Olympics without getting a gold medal.
Begg-Smith finished with silver, scoring 26.58. Bryon Wilson of the United States, who was only in the Games due to an injury to a fellow teammate, finished with a surprising bronze medal.
Kristina Groves’ pursuit of five medals to match Cindy Klassen’s performance in Turin started off on the right foot as she picked up a bronze medal in the 3,000 metre speed skating event.
Groves sat in third place with two skaters to go after posting a time of 4:04.84. The final pair of skaters were on pace to beat Groves’ time, but in the final lap, Daniela Anschutz Toms fell back and finished just 0.03 seconds behind the Canadian.
Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, the favourite going into the skate, easily won the gold with a time of 4:02.53.
Stephanie Beckert of Germany, who raced alongside Groves in their skate, edged the Canadian out for silver by only 0.22 seconds.
The Germans came up strong in the men’s single luge event, hitting the top spots on the podium. Felix Loch took the gold while countryman David Moeller finished with the silver.
Italian Armin Zoeggeler rounded out the podium with a bronze medal finish.
Samuel Edney of Calgary had the best ever finish for a Canadian in the men’s single luge event, taking seventh place.
France picked up its leading second gold medal of the Games as Jason Lamy Chappuis won the Nordic Combined event for the normal hill.
John Spillane took the silver, becoming the first American to ever win a medal in Nordic Combined in the history of the Winter Olympics.
Alessandro Pittan of Italy won bronze.
Weather played a factor in the men’s 10 km biathlon sprint as the day started out with rain, but later changed to heavy snowfall, affecting the shooting ability of competitors.
In the end, Frenchman Vincent Jay proved the hardiest athlete, taking the gold 13 seconds ahead of silver medalist Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway. Croatian Jakov Fak finished with the bronze.
Jean-Philippe Le Guellec had the highest finish ever for a Canadian in the event, taking sixth place.
The pairs figure skating short program got underway and the Chinese are looking very strong. Three different Chinese pairs finished first, fourth and fifth in the program, led by Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo.
Canadians Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison finished in sixth while Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay ended up in seventh.
The United States women’s hockey team followed up Canada’s 18-0 win over Slovakia with a dominating performance of their own, beating up on China 12-1. Jenny Potter had a hat trick and added two assists to become the U.S. all-time leading leader in points in Olympic play.
The Finland women’s hockey team defeated Russia 5-1 in what was the first ever meeting between the two teams in Olympic history.