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Page last updated at 04:14 GMT, Sunday, 28 February 2010

Canada revel in record gold medal haul

Canada's men's curlers show off their medals
Canada's men's curlers won their country's 13th gold of the Games

Canada have become the most successful ever nation at a Winter Olympics by winning 14 gold medals to top the medals table in Vancouver.

The Canadians' achievements beat the previous record - jointly held by the USSR and Norway - of 13.

"We have come on strong and we thought we had the right plan," said Canadian Olympic Committee chief Chris Rudge.

"But I don't think in our wildest dreams we thought we'd get this many gold medals."

Ironically though, Canada have fallen short of their own definition of success which was to win more medals - of any colour - than any other team.

The vast majority of countries judge Olympic success on the basis of the number of golds won, but Canada and the US prefer to measure the total number of medals.

With 37 medals in all (nine gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze), the US comfortably beat any other nation on that measure. But Canada's 14 golds, four more than nearest rival Germany, ensure that most of the world view the hosts as the most successful team at the Games.

What it's done is caused Canada to look within itself in a unique way, beyond just sport - a debate about who we are and what we value

Canadian Olympic Committee chief executive Chris Rudge

It completes an amazing turnaround for Canada, with much of the talk early in the Games centring on their failure to ever win gold on home soil despite having hosted the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary.

Alexandre Bilodeau won the men's moguls on 15 February to open the floodgates, and the success has snowballed ever since.

"Everyone was worried that we weren't going to get a gold medal on home soil," said Lucas Makowsky, part of Canada's victorious men's speed skating pursuit team.

"To come out with the most number of gold medals is the complete opposite.

"It's something that's pretty incredible for our Canadian athletes and our sporting system in general."

Canada still have the chance to bow out in a blaze of glory in the final of the men's ice hockey against the United States, while there is also the men's 50km cross country skiing to compete for on the last day of action.

"I think once you see our final numbers, the number of golds and silvers is going to be exceptional compared to where we historically have been," added Rudge.

"It's gratifying from our side to see that things we thought would happen over these last few days are rolling out as we anticipated."

The "Own the Podium" programme - which had the stated aim of helping the team "place first in the total medal count at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games" - caused some controversy in Canada, with some arguing that it suggested an arrogant approach.

But Rudge was happy to defend the programme, insisting that it had helped Canada look at their whole approach to sport and success.

"What it's done is caused Canada to look within itself in a unique way, beyond just sport - a debate about who we are and what we value," added Rudge.

"If we continue this kind of debate, it makes us a richer, stronger and healthier country."

The total of 14 golds was also Canada's highest ever at either a summer or winter Olympics, beating the previous mark of 10 in Los Angeles in 1984.

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see also
Canada curlers clinch 13th gold
28 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Canada's Anderson wins PGS gold
27 Feb 10 |  Snowboarding
Canada clinch team pursuit gold
27 Feb 10 |  Speed skating
Eley falls short in speed skating
27 Feb 10 |  Short track skating
Canada issue celebration apology
26 Feb 10 |  Ice hockey
Canada outclass US to take gold
26 Feb 10 |  Ice hockey
Skating gold for Canada's Nesbitt
18 Feb 10 |  Speed skating
Canada's Montgomery wins skeleton
20 Feb 10 |  Skeleton
Ricker cruises to snowboard gold
16 Feb 10 |  Snowboarding
Canadians waltz to ice dance gold
23 Feb 10 |  Figure skating
McIvor eases to ski cross victory
23 Feb 10 |  Freestyle skiing
Gold for Canada as GB 1 crash out
25 Feb 10 |  Bobsleigh
Canada secure historic gold medal
15 Feb 10 |  Freestyle skiing
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010

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