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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2006, 11:10 GMT
Gretzky shoulders Canadian blame
Wayne Gretzky
Gretzky coached Canada to gold in Salt Lake City in 2002
Ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky accepted the blame for Canada's shock Olympic Games exit after his country's worst finish in the event for 26 years.

Canada, the defending champions, lost 2-0 to Russia in the quarter-finals after losing twice in the first round.

"I take full responsibility. It's nobody else's fault," said Gretzky, Canada's executive director.

"I will reassess what's best for me and for Hockey Canada. I want to win gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010."

Gretzky led ice hockey-mad Canada to victory in Salt Lake City four years ago, ending a 50-year Olympic gold medal drought.

But he said the disappointment he felt at defeat to Russia was the same as finishing fourth at the 1998 Games in Nagano where he was the star player.

"You wonder what you could have done or said to make it better for the players," he said.

"The devastation is the same, the responsibility aspect is different. You feel more like a parent, like you have let your kids down.

"Does this mean it's the end of Canada hockey? I don't think so, we'll be back."

Gretzky came into the tournament under a cloud with his name linked to an illegal betting ring. He has denied all allegations of wrong-doing.

In a 20-year playing career, Gretzky helped the Edmonton Oilers win four Stanley Cups and set 61 NHL records.


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