Canada completes its best Winter Olympics despite hockey, curling disappointments

If you’d have followed the 2018 Winter Olympics superficially, scanning the headlines that made international news but staying away from the event-by-event minutiae, you might have thought Team Canada was one of the biggest disappointments of the PyeongChang Games. That’s because, well, Team USA breaks Canada’s streak to win women’s hockey gold, and Germany stuns Canada, advances to gold medal hockey match.

In reality, though, these Winter Games were anything but a disappointment for Team Canada.

The Canadians, despite high-profile shortcomings on ice, have taken home 29 medals with a few events still to go. That’s not only the second-most of any nation in PyeongChang heading into the final day; its the most in Canada’s Winter Olympics history.

Team Canada has won 11 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze medals, trailing only record-breaking Norway, which has 38 in all. Canadians have spread their golds around various sports, from snowboarding and freestyle skiing to speed skating, bobsledding and ice dancing.

Canada’s snowboard big air gold medallist Sebastien Toutant poses in front of Olympic rings. (Getty)

While neither the men’s or women’s hockey teams claimed gold, both did win medals. And while both the men’s and women’s curling teams failed to medal – the first time that’s happened in Olympic history – the mixed doubles curling pair of John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes took gold last week.

Canada’s most prolific sport, as expected, was freestyle skiing. Mikael Kingsbury won the men’s moguls. Brady Leman won men’s ski cross. Kelsey Serwa won women’s ski cross, and Brittany Phelan finished second. Cassie Sharpe won women’s halfpipe. The women’s moguls and men’s slopestyle events also brought medals.

Team Canada, like Team USA, has only come on as a Winter Olympics powerhouse since the introduction of X-Games events. Decades ago, it was never a factor toward the top of the medal table, regularly finishing with single digits.

But over the past six Winter Olympic cycles, Canada has leapt into the upper echelon. And it’s actually been remarkably consistent. It finished fifth, fourth, third, third and fourth between 1998 and 2014. Its total medal tally increased every four years, except in 2014; but that’s because the total number of events at the Winter Olympics increased every four years.

CANADA WINTER OLYMPICS MEDALS BY YEAR

Year Canada medals Olympic events Canada % of available medals
2018* 29 (?)* 100 (102)* 9.7 (?)*
2014 25 98 8.5
2010 26 86 10.1
2006 24 84 9.5
2002 17 78 7.3
1998 15 68 7.3

*Canada able to win medals in two more events

Percentage-wise, these actually haven’t been Canada’s best Winter Olympics; 2010, on home soil in Vancouver, was better. In fact, many nations – from Norway at the top of the charts to Great Britain further down – have set new medal marks. And Canada will likely be tied or topped by Germany in second place by the time the Games come to a close on Sunday.

Nonetheless, Canada has had an extremely successful stay in PyeongChang — certainly more so than Team USA.

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