It's been four years since the Olympic Winter Games swept Vancouver and Whistler. Those exciting two weeks back in 2010 saw Canada collect a record 14 gold medals in sports such as hockey, skating, curling and skiing. Highlights included freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau collecting the country's first gold medal on home soil, and Sidney Crosby scoring the "golden goal" to beat the United States in the men's hockey final.
However, tragedy also struck along the way. Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died at the Whistler Sliding Centre during a test run before the Games even started, while Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette won a bronze just two days after her mother died.
The Vancouver Games were full of triumph and heartbreak, and many moments that few will ever forget. Here are the ones we remember most vividly:
- Vancouver Olympic organizers engaged First Nations as partners in putting on the Games. The highlight of that partnership was seeing aboriginal, Metis and Inuit people from across Canada welcome the athletes to BC Place Stadium at the opening ceremonies. One participant said it gave the country's indigenous people a chance to formally welcome the world - including Canadians - to their territory.
- While beautiful, the opening ceremonies didn't go off without a hitch. Only three out of the four arms of the Olympic cauldron ever came out of the floor, leaving torchbearers Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene Raine, and Catriona LeMay Doan to stand awkwardly by as they waited for it to light up. Games organizers poked fun at the incident in the closing ceremonies, when the cauldron finally lit as expected.
- Tragedy struck the Games before they even began when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre. A report by the International Luge Federation determined that he exited a curve too late before his sled flew off the track, sending him hurtling to his death. A memorial was set up in his honour in Whistler.
- Freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau topped strong competition at Cypress Mountain with some elaborate jumps, giving Canada its first Olympic gold medal at home. It wouldn't be the last.
- Norway won a silver medal in men's curling at the 2010 Games, but the team's elaborate pants stole the show. And they have only outdone themselves for Sochi.
- Stephen Colbert became a fixture of Vancouver Olympics coverage when he sponsored the U.S. speed skating team. Hilarity ensued from there as the late night comedy host feuded with the City of Richmond (which later offered him a job) over the team's perceived lack of practice time. Colbert taped segments of his show right next to Science World, drawing thousands of members of Colbert Nation North.
- Jon Montgomery's gold medal win at the Whistler Sliding Centre sent waves of Canadian pride through the ski resort. In the midst of his celebration, a random follower handed him a pitcher of beer that he knocked back on live television.
- U.S. snowboarding legend Shaun White had already scored high enough to win the gold medal in men's halfpipe on his first try, but he wasn't about to let his fans down on the second. His victory lap saw him pull off a Double McTwist 1260, a daring trick that made the crowd at Cypress going wild.
- Joannie Rochette's mother Therese died of a heart attack just a few hours after arriving in Vancouver to see her daughter compete in women's figure skating. She hit the ice anyway, scoring a personal best in the short program and performing just well enough in the long program to secure the bronze medal. Rochette was later chosen as Canada's flagbearer at the closing ceremonies.
- Sven Kramer was denied a gold medal and an Olympic record in the 10, 000-metre race when he was disqualified for incorrectly changing lanes at his coach's instruction.
- Lindsey Vonn came into the Olympics with a bruised shin that had observers worrying she wouldn't be able to compete. But she defied the odds and became the first American woman to win a gold in downhill skiing with a time of 1 minute, 44.19 seconds, more than a half-second faster than her closest competitor.
- This lovely ice dancing couple won Canada's first gold medal in the sport and became the youngest dance team to win at the Olympics.
- Canada's women's hockey team downed the Americans 2-0 in the final, but the win was soon overshadowed by a lame controversy after the players were photographed drinking beer and smoking cigars with their medals around their necks. The IOC was unhappy with the celebration and the team apologized. In our opinion, they shouldn't have.
- The final event of the 2010 Olympics wasn't lacking in drama and excitement. Canada looked like it had the men's hockey gold medal secured when Zach Parise put the puck past Roberto Luongo with just seconds remaining in the third period. Then at around eight minutes into overtime, Sidney Crosby flicked the puck to Jarome Iginla and immediately found some open space in front of the net. He took a pass right back from the winger and shot the "golden goal" past netminder Ryan Miller, winning the game 3-2 and sending Canadian hockey fans everywhere into a frenzy.
- Anyone who attended the 2010 Olympics will likely remember crowded streets full of happy people over anything else. Vancouver came alive in a way it never had before, ushering thousands of people into the downtown to watch sports and celebrate together. The Canadian pride on display throughout the Games prompted IOC Chief Jacques Rogge to call the Vancouver Olympics an "excellent and friendly games" at the closing ceremonies.