The Vancouver Olympics had a bit of everything. There was tragedy prior to the opening of the games with the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, the torch snafu that left Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky standing, prostitutes getting media training, and oh yeah- lots of great competition.
It appeared as if the Canadian hockey team might lose out on their home ice after getting defeated in an earlier round by the American team. The home team reasserted their excellence in the game by dropping gold medal favorite Russia. In a rematch that had to be as anticipated as the NHL Finals if not more, the Canadians got a shot at redemption against the Americans in the gold medal match-up (which they won in overtime).
Fans did get a lot of what they had hoped for to go with a share of disappointments as well. For the first time since 1948, the U.S. Bobsled team took home the gold. Lindsey Vonn proved to be tough as nails, working through multiple injuries to medal twice although she failed to finish three of her events. Bode Miller finally managed to excel in Olympic competition winning his first gold medal (along with other medals) only to screw up in his final race and ski off course eight seconds in.
Canada had hoped to win the overall medal count on their home turf, but will have to settle for third, four behind Germany and eleven behind the United States. Some would recognize the U.S as the overall winner with the most medals, however, it was the home team (Canada) that won the most gold (14).
What fans and analyst need to remember is that the Games are not meant to produce one overall winner. The idea is not to crown a country champion and call their athletes the best, but to recognize greatness worldwide. Athletes from over 25 countries will be taking home a share of over 200 gold, silver, and bronze medals as proof that they are among the best at what they do.
The Olympics are the only competition where it really is the spirit that matters.For those that did not win, they can say that they had the honor of competing on the most prestigious stage in athletics. When people say it was an honor just to be there, with the Olympics it is true.
Beer: While fans in Vancouver begin the debate over who the next great Olympians will be they should give Naughty Hidlegard’s Extra Special Bitter a try from the Driftwood Brewery in near by Victoria. Legend has it that Hildegard Von Bingen was one of the first to use hops in beer (that wench!). While the hops definitely dominate this beer, the flavor is balanced out rather well with the right blend of malts. At 6.5% ABV give your date a few of these and she might get a little naughty!