Not so fast: Team Canada comes alive, tied for most gold just days after conceding medals race

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canada’s on the podium, if not owning it

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Perhaps they spoke too soon.

Team Canada won a gold medal, two silvers and a bronze on Wednesday, just two days after the nation’s Olympic officials conceded defeat of their Own the Podium program, which had aimed for just that at the Vancouver Games.

That brought Canada’s gold total to seven, matching the United States and Germany. It also tied their overall Winter Games-best mark of seven golds, reached in both Salt Lake City and Turin.

It is the fourth time that Canada has won four medals in one day.

The United States led the overall medal count in Vancouver with 28. Germany had collected 24 and Norway had 18. Canada was in fourth with 15.

Although Canada likely will still fall far behind the United States and Germany in the number of total medals, the country could save some face by keeping up — or even passing — the two rival nations in the gold category.

Canada’s gold medal on Wednesday came courtesy of the women’s bobsledding team of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse. The Canadian pair of Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown added a silver.

“Canada’s put so much into this, Own the Podium, our coaches, our teammates, everybody. We’re lucky to be Canadian athletes right now,” Upperton said. “Going 1-2 at home? It’s not possible to be better than that.”

On Wednesday, Canadian women also won the silver medal in the 3,000-meter short-track speedskating relay, and speedskater Clara Hughes added a bronze in the 5,000 meters.

Canada spent $117 million over the past five years — a mix of government and private funding — on its Own The Podium program, which gave extra financial support to contending athletes.

A rough weekend, punctuated by the Canadian men’s hockey team’s loss to the United States, prompted Chris Rudge, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee to concede the medals race, saying the country would not meet its goal of finishing atop the medals table on home soil.

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