Sochi roundup: Golden moments, unexpected surprises and what had Canadians talking
Published Sunday, February 23, 2014 1:55PM EST
Canada headed into the Sochi Winter Games with high hopes of surpassing its record-breaking 2010 Olympic performance. And while Canada fell just short of the 26 medals won four years ago in Vancouver, taking home a total of 25 Sochi, Canadian athletes left their mark on the Games and gave supporters back home plenty to be proud of.
CTVNews.ca has rounded up some of the top moments from the 2014 Winter Games:
Canada started off the Sochi Games with a bang after Quebec sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe won the gold and silver medals respectively in the women's freestyle moguls on the first day of competition. Older sister Maxime also competed in the event, finishing 12th.
Defending hockey gold
The pressure was on for both Canada's women's and men's hockey teams to defend their Olympic golds – and they didn't disappoint.
In a spectacular comeback against the U.S., the Canadian women managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit heading into the third period and ended up beating their fiercest rivals in a wild 3-2 overtime victory.
In a less thrilling, but equally satisfying game, Canada's men dominated Sweden 3-0 to win the Olympic gold.
Reigning Olympic champion Alexandre Bilodeau capped off his gold medal freestyle skiing win in Sochi with a familiar scene. Bilodeau embraced his brother Fredric, who has cerebral palsy, and dedicated his medal to him.
He calls Frederic his hero and his biggest inspiration. "I have a family, a great girlfriend, a team of trainers, but the person who motivates me to go through the highs and lows is my brother," Bilodeau said.
Chan misses the gold
Patrick Chan, a three-time world figure skating champion, had high hopes of topping the podium in Sochi. But he had to settle for the silver medal after a series of small errors in the free skate.
Chan joins Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Brian Orser as Canadian world champions who couldn't clinch the Olympic gold.
Hudec breaks medal drought
Jan Hudec ended Canada's two-decade alpine drought with a bronze medal win in the Super-G event.
The fact that the 32-year-old Calgarian managed to make the podium after facing a string of injuries made his win even sweeter.
Seven knee surgeries -- six on the right and one on the left, and four of them full-on reconstructions --stalled Hudec's racing career several times between 2003 and 2010.
The last Canadian to have medalled in the sport of alpine skiing was Ed Podivinsky, who took bronze in Lillehammer in 1994.
Hamelin falls, twice
Defending Olympic champion Charles Hamelin seemed poised to take multiple medals after winning the gold in the men's 1,500-metre event speedskating event early in the Games. In doing so, he would have become Canada's most decorated Olympian.
But Hamelin crashed in the qualifying round of the 500-metre short-track speed skating event and then again in the 1,000-metre. Canada’s men’s 5,000-metre relay team also failed to advance to the competition’s final after Hamelin’s brother Francois fell.
What Canadians talked about
Sochi on Tinder
In a setting like the Olympic Village, where close to 3,000 young athletes from around the world congregated in the isolated Black Sea resort town, one can imagine how Tinder might be used.
For those not familiar with it, Tinder matches up people based on their location, presenting a series of photos of a user. Other users with the app can then approve or reject a potential match by swiping right or left on their photos. If both users “approve” of each other, they can start chatting.
When Russian cross-country skier Anton Gafarov took a tumble during the semi-finals of the men’s freestyle sprint event, breaking one of his skis in the process, it was a Canadian who came to the rescue.
Canada's own cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth rushed onto the course, dropped to the ground and helped affix the ski to Gafarov’s boot, allowing him to finish the race.
Another display of Canadian courtesy: Long-track speedskater Denny Morrison won the silver medal in the men's 1,000 metres after taking the place vacated by his friend and teammate Gilmore Junio. Morrison had fallen during the Canadian Olympic trials in December, and thus failed to qualify for the race. Junio stepped aside, recognizing Morrison’s talent in the event.
"It's a dream, a fairytale story," said an emotional Morrison after earning his third Olympic medal in three Games. "It's difficult to really believe that it's happening."
Morrison would go onto claim bronze in the 1,500-metre long track event.
Ice dancing controversy
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the ice dancers who captured Canada's heart when they won gold in Vancouver, wound up with silver at the Sochi Olympics.
The pair lost out to the American team, Meryl Davis and Charlie White – something potentially made more painful by the fact that both sets of skaters share the same coach.
After their silver finish, Virture and Moir told a news conference that “we sometimes felt like (coach Marina Zoueva) wasn’t in our corner.” Still, the pair said they wouldn’t change their Sochi experience for the world.
The dance competition also came amid rumours published in a French sports magazine alleging that judges from the U.S. and Russia were conspiring to help each other during the Games.