After 17 exciting days, the 2010 Winter Olympics are finally coming to an end tonight in Vancouver.
Although the Vancouver Olympics’ permanent legacy is still up in the air, one thing that should be remembered about the 2010 Summer Games is North America’s triumph.
2010 Olympic Speed Skating Gold Medalist
Canada and the United States have never had a more successful Winter Olympics than this one. For decades, European countries have dominated the Winter Games. Additionally, both North American countries are laying claim to virtually every record that can be broken.
Despite a poor start, Canada eventually surpassed the United States in the number of gold medals won, while the United States dominated the total medal count from the conclusion of Day 1 through the end of Day 17. At the end of day 15, they had amassed more gold medals than anyone else.
Outside of Europe, no country has ever won the Winter Olympics medal count before now. In 1932, at the Lake Placid Olympics, the United States won the most medals of any country. At those Lake Placid Games, the United States won a record six gold medals, and it was the last time a country outside of Europe took the top spot in the gold medal tally.
Both the United States and Canada will set a new national record for Winter Olympic medals at the Vancouver Games.
With 37 medals, the United States will break its previous record of 34 from the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, while Canada will break its previous record of 24 medals from the 2006 Games in Torino with 26 medals.
With 37 medals, the United States will surpass Germany’s previous record of 36 established in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Having already advanced to the gold medal match in men’s ice hockey and men’s team pursuit in speed skating, it appeared that the United States was well on its way to setting a new Olympic medals record in the final weekend of the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Since the U.S. women’s speed skating pursuit team lost both their semifinal and bronze medal matches yesterday, and since snowboarder Chris Klug dropped out of the parallel giant slalom event in the quarterfinals, and since skiers Bode Miller and Ted Ligety were disqualified for missing gates in the slalom, the country had only one last chance to claim a 37th medal late yesterday afternoon.
The United States’ Four-Man Bobsled Team, led by Steve Holcomb, Triumphed.
The American team won gold in relatively convincing way, besting a German team who had won bobsled at the Olympics four times prior.
Technically, the United States will not get its 37th medal until this afternoon, when the men’s hockey team returns from their game with Canada with either silver or gold.