The highest of high-definition televisions could never capture the poignancy of an Olympic medal ceremony. The aftermath of the women's gold medal hockey game proved that to me as I finally experienced the crowning of an Olympic champion in person.
I've seen medals slung around necks on TV before, but nothing could prepare me for the live event. I was teary-eyed as early as when the Finns received their bronze medals! I couldn't even tell you who any of them were (but upon further review, I think one was Esa Tikkanen's daughter).
The magnitude of the moment was evident to everyone, and toughest to choke back tears when a single womanly voice shouted "USA! USA!" in the top corner of Canada Hockey Place during the silver medal distribution. It grew to a few people, a few sections, and then all of the building. Not just American fans, but Canadians as well. So classy.
Sure, I'm disappointed the American girls couldn't get the job done against the big red machine. Silver is the toughest pill to swallow because the team is getting a medal for having just lost a game. At least the bronze winners have a feeling of accomplishment from winning their final game. Silver medalists see their prizes in their trophy cases and are reminded of the most bitter defeat of their careers. That's brutal on the psyche.
Don't get me wrong, the US women absolutely deserve their silver medal, and they should be proud of it, but in that moment, it probably didn't feel like the won anything to them. Kudos for hanging tough throughout the game against a Canadian team that outscored its opposition 48-2 through the 2010 Olympics.OTHER STUFF FROM THE DAY:
In attendance were Michael J. Fox, Clara Hughes and the entire Canadian men's hockey team. On my way back to the green room, an elevator slid open as I walked by. The whole team, coaches included, were crammed in there. If I wasn't so star struck, it would have been hilarious. I will forever kick myself for not getting a picture of that.Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org