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Canada miss out on historic Vancouver gold medal

Hannah Kearney celebrates after her final run in the moguls

Kearney spoils Canadian party in moguls

Canada's wait for a first Olympic gold on home soil continues as America's Hannah Kearney pipped Jennifer Heil to gold in the freestyle skiing moguls.

Local favourite and reigning champion Heil looked set to create history when she held the provisional lead with only Kearney left to ski.

But Kearney's scintillating final run pushed Heil into the silver medal spot.

The host nation missed out in the 1,500m short track skating as Charles Hamelin failed to reach the final.

Hamelin was Canada's big hope for gold in the speed skating, but the crowd at the Pacific Coliseum watched him win only the B final because he failed to qualify for the medal race.

Instead, Jung-Su Lee of South Korea won the gold and Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States took silver.

"Usually, I'm able to go through to the finals if I have good races but it happens sometimes in short track," said Hamelin, whose compatriot Olivier Jean did manage fourth place.

Canada have never won an Olympic gold medal on home soil, failing to capture any at the 1976 Montreal Summer Games or the 1988 Calgary Winter Games.

I felt like I was standing on the shoulders of so many Canadians

Silver medallist Jennifer Heil

For the Vancouver Games, the country is desperately waiting to see who will reach the top of an Olympic podium.

And it was in the moguls that Canada missed their best chance of ending their hoodoo.

Defending Olympic champion Heil, who had won her last four World Cup events, had been favoured to win gold, with even Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper joining the crowd of 7,500 at Cypress Mountain to watch her.

Heil looked to have delivered after an immaculate 360 degree twist and back flip in her final run put her in first place with only one Kearney left to race.

But the American - a lowly 22nd four years ago in Turin - tore through the slushy, rain-soaked moguls, and cleanly landed her two aerial tricks to post a personal best sore of 26.63, 0.94 ahead of the Canadian.

American Shannon Bahrke took bronze to add to her silver medal from 2002, leaving the US top of the medal standings on day two and compounding the misery for the hosts.

"I heard the roar of the crowd, I heard Jenn's score and I knew I was going to have to ski the best run of my life," said Kearney.

"I know Canada hasn't won a gold medal on their home turf. I have a feeling they'll do it these games, but I'm pleased that I could stop that for now."

OLLIE WILLIAMS BLOG

Heil said: "I felt like I was standing on the shoulders of so many Canadians. I felt like I had their wings on my back. This is Canada's medal.

"Canadians can be assured that the gold medal is coming on home soil. Canada have such a strong team."

There was better news for the host nation in the ice hockey as the Canadian women's team got their gold medal defence off to a rousing start with a record-breaking 18-0 demolition of Slovakia in their opening game.

Canada already held the previous record after a 16-0 thrashing of Italy four years ago in Turin.



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see also
German Loch wins luge gold medal
15 Feb 10 |  Luge
Winter Olympics day two
13 Feb 10 |  Live coverage
Winter Olympics day two photos
13 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010


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