Canada owns race for gold medals
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- While the Vancouver Olympics aren't finished, the medal races are -- and in spectacular fashion for North Americans.
The United States is guaranteed 37 medals and Canada will finish with at least 13 gold medals. Both are the best of these games and part of the greatest hauls ever at a Winter Olympics.
The Americans will leave with the most medals by any country at any Winter Games. They also will win the medal count for only the second time, the other being at Lake Placid in 1932.
Steven Holcomb and the "Night Train" delivered the 36th medal, and ninth gold, for the United States by winning the four-man bobsled event Saturday. The 37th will come from the men's hockey team. Whether it is gold or silver will be determined Sunday.
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Canada invested $117 million and five years into an "Own the Podium" program that was supposed to win the medals race. At least it bought the top step.
The Canadians have matched the record of 13 golds set by the Soviets in 1976 and Norway in 2002. It's also the most gold Canada has won at any Olympics, winter or summer, and its the most for any Winter Olympics host country; both those marks had been 10.
And how's this for timing: Lucky No. 13 came in the nation's second-favorite sport, curling, with beloved skip Kevin Martin shoving aside the Norway guys wearing those tacky trousers. The record-setting 14th could come Sunday in the nation's far and away favorite sport, hockey, with Sidney Crosby and friends facing the Americans.
Canadians also will finish third on the overall medals list. They've claimed 26, counting the one in hockey. Germany is second with 29.
All told, it's a staggering list of achievements for the hosts and their nearest neighbor.
Bottom line: The rest of the world is probably glad the next two Winter Games will be held in other continents.
Among the other highlights Saturday:
-The U.S men's team pursuit squad in speedskating took silver, finishing just behind -- guess who? -- Canada.
-A few minutes later, Canada got another gold when Jasey-Jay Anderson won the men's parallel giant slalom.
-Norway's Marit Bjoergen was a photo finish from getting her fourth gold medal of these games. She wound up settling for silver and becoming the first person in Vancouver with five medals; nobody else even has four.
There are only two events on Sunday, the hockey game and a 50-kilometer men's cross-country race.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press