The Winter Video games in Sochi, Russia, on the coast of the Black Sea, will endlessly be remembered as the most costly Olympics and Paralympics of all-time.
It is stated that the nation’s chief, Vladimir Putin, in an act of supreme vainness, allowed $52 billion US to be spent so as to stage what was successfully “Disneyland” for world, athletic, endeavour.
These Video games had been reviled by critics due to their lavish, excessive, trappings in a spot that had little sporting historical past to talk of.
Nonetheless, in all — greater than six years after the very fact — a number of the athletes you speak with completely cherished the Sochi expertise … specifically the Canadian hockey gamers.
“I bear in mind with the ability to look out our window on the Olympic Village and see the water and delightful surroundings,” Canadian girls’s group goaltender Shannon Szabados stated by way of e-mail.
Celebrity Para-ice hockey participant Billy Bridges, initially from Summerside, P.E.I., agreed wholeheartedly.
“Truthfully, your complete Sochi Video games had been essentially the most unimaginable expertise I’ve ever had,” he gushed.
“In any of the 5 Video games that I’ve been to, nowhere else might you see the Olympic/Paralympic flame always. That coastal cluster of venues was the good factor I’ve ever seen. We might stroll and wheel to all of our video games and practices and the whole lot was simply good.”
Efficiency had so much to do with the fond recollections that Canadian hockey gamers and followers have of the Sochi Video games.
WATCH | Canadian hockey dominates Sochi Video games:
The women and men received back-to again gold medals having beforehand triumphed in Vancouver on house ice. The Russian women and men, conversely did not win a medal on the first winter Video games held of their nation.
And in sledge hockey, because it was then referred to as, the Canadians received a tough fought bronze medal whereas the Russians broke by way of with silver and thus attracted a big and enthusiastic following for the game.
I can bear in mind strolling out of the Olympic stadium after broadcasting the closing ceremony and being approached by a Russian fan carrying a baseball cap who spoke wonderful English.
“Hey, you, from Canada,” he stated in a pleasant means. “Congratulations in your hockey gold medal. I actually admire the best way your guys play the sport. Like an actual group. Our gamers are only a bunch of people. It is each man for himself.”
I requested him the place he was from and he stated he had come down from Moscow. Then he lifted his jacket to disclose the hand gun resting within the holster on his hip.
“I am one of many safety guys whose been searching for you the entire time,” he grinned. “Congratulations once more and I hope you loved Russia.”
NHL stars cruise to undefeated victory
Certainly, the Canadian males — led by the likes of Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, and goaltender Carey Worth — had been dominant.
They went undefeated within the Olympic event giving up solely three targets within the six video games they performed and shutout Sweden three-nothing within the last on the palatial Bolshoy Ice Dome.
The Canadians had been the primary group to win each sport they performed at an Olympics because the Soviet Union received the gold medal on the 1984 Video games in Sarajevo. It was the third time within the final 4 Olympics that the Canadian males had taken gold and the ninth time in historical past.
Due to the nine-hour time distinction, bars again house opened as early as four a.m. and a whopping 15 million Canadians watched no less than a part of the gold medal sport.
The manager director of the group, Hockey Corridor of Famer Steve Yzerman, referred to as the Sochi efficiency the best defensive effort ever by a Canadian squad.
Ladies win well-known gold medal over U.S.
The ladies’s event boiled right down to arch-rivals, the USA and Canada but once more. The gold medal last turned out to be a sport for the ages.
Then with simply over a minute to go, goaltender Shannon Szabados, who had been the event’s high puck stopper 4 years beforehand at Vancouver, was lifted by Canadian coach Kevin Dineen in favour of a further skater.
“It is powerful as a result of now the whole lot is out of your fingers,” Szabados admitted. “It is a helpless feeling however on the identical time that is when you must belief your teammates.”
The technique by the ex-NHLer Dineen, who had assumed teaching duties with the ladies’s nationwide group simply two months earlier than the Video games, labored wonders and Marie-Philip Poulin scored with seconds remaining to ship the sport to time beyond regulation.
“He undoubtedly shifted the tide in that sport along with his bench administration and talent to remain calm and assured all through,” Szabados stated of Dineen.
The primary girls’s gold medal sport on the Olympics to go to time beyond regulation was a nail-biter which far eclipsed the thrill issue of the boys’s match which was to observe. The tempo was torrid and every group created a bevy of possibilities within the sudden-death body.
“We had already come to this point and I knew the momentum was in our favour,” the Canadian goalie recalled.
“We killed off an early penalty which is de facto powerful to do in time beyond regulation and I feel it simply added to our confidence. I used to be able to do no matter it took to maintain the puck out of our web and I knew the women had been able to do no matter it took to place one in theirs.”
The Canadian confidence got here to the fore and with eight minutes gone within the dramatic time beyond regulation Poulin scored once more to safe the 3-2 victory and an historic fourth consecutive gold medal on the Olympics for the Canadian girls.
It sparked a wild celebration on the ice in Sochi and for thousands and thousands watching coast to coast to coast in Canada.
“Sochi was undoubtedly the craziest and most fun sport I’ve ever been part of,” Szabados reckoned. “The ambiance in Vancouver will all the time separate it from another Olympics, however the thrilling final result of Sochi’s sport is one for historical past.”
Para-hockey a success with native followers
Two weeks later on the Paralympics, the Canadians had been enjoying to packed homes on the Shayba Enviornment because the Russian followers warmed to sledge hockey in massive means.
For Bridges, who had already been Paralympic champion in 2006, failing to win a medal on the house Video games in 2010 was a bitter reminiscence he carried to Russia.
“That was essentially the most devastating second in my profession,” he stated flatly.
“Sochi had been the one factor I might consider after that puck went off my shoulder with 5 seconds left, within the bronze medal sport towards Norway in Vancouver. The subsequent week we acquired a pet and named her Sochi.”
Whereas the People performed and ultimately defeated the house group from Russia to win the gold medal, the Canadians once more drew Norway with the bronze medal on the road.
They completely dominated the confrontation, and Billy Bridges scored two targets in a three-nothing triumph to avenge the loss at Vancouver 4 years earlier.
“Having spent 22 years on the Paralympic group, or over two-thirds of my complete life, you completely begin to admire issues otherwise,” Bridges reasoned.
“The medal actually finally ends up representing one thing tangible, which you could maintain, to indicate folks the efforts that you simply and your complete group have put into your sport over the past 4 years within the pursuit of excellence.”
And Bridges has yet one more recollection from the most costly Olympics and Paralympics of all-time in 2014.
“If my analysis is right, that medal from Sochi is the heaviest Paralympic or Olympic medal ever made,” he concluded with delight.
“In order that makes it fairly cool to indicate round.”
Canadian hockey gamers dominated the medal desk on the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Video games. Their on-ice success will likely be revisited at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday June 13th. This system will likely be streamed dwell at cbcsports.ca and aired throughout the CBC tv community. Verify native listings for the time in your space.
Trying forward, Saturday, June 20th, Olympic Video games Replay No. 14 will likely be a showcase broadcast which is able to spotlight timeless Olympic file breakers along with celebrating the 11 inductees — athletes and builders — who will obtain the Order of Sport in Canada and comprise the Class of 2020-21 at Canada’s illustrious Sports activities Corridor of Fame.