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"Only action-packed ones," he said. "Slo-mo running. Flying off buildings."
Apolo Anton Ohno became the most decorated American Winter Olympian ever, racking up his eighth lifetime medal -- though he went home without a gold in Vancouver.
In all, the United States won 37 medals, a record for the Winter Games, including nine gold. It was the first time the Americans had led the winter medals count since 1932.
As for the host nation, which invested $110 million before these games with the goal of dominating the medals stand? They never did own the podium, but they owned the top step.
And how Canada cheered.
For Alexandre Bilodeau, who bounced down the moguls course to give Canada its first gold in three Olympics on home soil, ending a drought that lasted 34 years and stretched across six provinces, from Montreal to Vancouver.
For the women's hockey team, which tore through the tournament and celebrated with cigars and booze on the ice. They later apologized -- and apologizing, one Olympic TV host here said, is almost inherently Canadian.
For the men's curlers at Vancouver Olympic Center, where fans clanged cowbells and burst into song. The same sport gave us the most recognizable athletes of the games -- Team Norway, with its garish, diamond-patterned pants, an online hit.
Only in Canada could a sport that literally requires looking at rocks for three hours become a party destination.
The biggest party of all? No doubt about it -- Canada Hockey Place, site of an impossibly tense gold-medal hockey game. Sidney Crosby wristed the puck past American goalie Ryan Miller 7:40 into overtime. Canada 3, U.S. 2.
Canadian national honor was served, and it typified the host nation's Olympic comeback. With the Americans playing with an empty net, Canada blew a 2-1 lead with 24.4 seconds remaining in regulation when Zach Parise tied the game.
Crosby's goal completed a gold rush unmatched in Winter Games history. Canada's 14th was the one that mattered most.
Still, some of the loudest cheers were for a bronze -- for Rochette, the figure skater whose mother died in Vancouver during the games and who still managed to skate for a medal.
"I just thanked my mother for the strength she could give me," Rochette said. "I don't know if she was there with me, but she definitely raised me up to have strength."
There were two doping violations -- hockey players, a Russian woman and a Slovakian man, both for stimulants contained in cold medication, neither deemed worthy of more than a reprimand. That was one more than in Turin.
Organizers praised the people of Vancouver for embracing the games, and suggested the glory of Olympic competition should be considered separately from the tragedy on the games' first day.
But even IOC chief Jacques Rogge conceded the young luger's death would forever be linked to the Vancouver Games -- just as the massacre in 1972 was to Munich and the park bombing in 1996 was to Atlanta.
The days that followed were not pretty. The international luge federation blamed Kumaritashvili's tactical handling of the course, not the track itself, for the death. Georgia's president, Mikhail Saakashvili, saw it differently: "No sports mistake," he said, "is supposed to lead to a death."
The luge track was shortened for competition, and the course altered, but officials said the changes were to soothe athletes' emotions, not make them safer. Later in the games, on the same track, overturned bobsleds became a common sight.
And across the world, in the heartbroken Georgian town of Bakuriani, was another mother of another Olympian. Dodo Kumaritashvili joined the lone other luger on the Georgian team as her son's body arrived back home.
She threw herself on the flag-draped casket and cried: "Why have I survived you?"
Olympic officials, their hearts heavy and their Vancouver Games now history, could be forgiven for asking the same. But the memories survive, the haunting and the proud.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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