Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games Best Moments

Canada was changed forever when Vancouver hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Where once Canadians might have been shy about showing their national pride, there was now unabashed joy in wearing head-to-toe red and white, in having the maple leaf emblazoned on their chests. Here are some of the very best moments of the last Olympic Games held at home.

Canadian Olympic speed skater and cyclist Clara Hughes leads the Canadian team during the athlete’s parade at the opening ceremony for the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 12, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

When Clara Hughes led Team Canada into BC Place for the Opening Ceremony, the roar from the crowd that greeted them was just the start of what was to come.

When Wayne Gretzky hopped in the back of a pick-up truck to carry the Olympic flame downtown to light an outdoor cauldron, it was the most Canadian thing people had ever seen.

Fans wave to Wayne Gretzky as he leaves B.C. Place with the Olympic Torch in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 following the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe

When Alex Bilodeau won Canada’s first ever Olympic gold medal on home soil with his biggest fan, brother Frédéric, cheering him on from the front row, there was hardly a dry eye across the country.

When Maëlle Ricker became the first Canadian woman to win Olympic gold at home, everyone knew she couldn’t have written a better story than to do it in what was pretty much her backyard.

When Christine Nesbitt fulfilled all expectations and won 1000m gold at the Richmond Olympic Oval, everyone delighted in her delight with coach Marcel Lacroix.

When Jon Montgomery hollered as he leaped onto the top step of the podium and then celebrated his skeleton gold with a big gulp of beer, there was a new most Canadian moment of the Games.

When Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir mesmerized with their stunning free skate to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, there were suddenly 35 million new ice dance fans.

When Ashleigh McIvor won the first ever Olympic gold in ski cross, everyone relished in Canada’s greatness at new Olympic events.

When Team Canada did a 1-2 finish in women’s bobsleigh, everyone wanted to be a part of the podium party.

When the women’s hockey team shut out Team USA to win their third straight Olympic gold, everyone knew they were watching a dynasty at work and a star on the rise in Marie-Philip Poulin.

When Joannie Rochette had the skate of her life just days after her mother’s sudden passing, there was no hiding the emotions as the country supported her through the most difficult of circumstances.

When the men’s short track relay team revealed Operation Cobra, everyone admired the ingenuity that helped win Charles Hamelin win two gold medals in just half an hour.

When Jasey-Jay Anderson won his long-awaited Olympic gold just 10 minutes after Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, and Denny Morrison were victorious in the team pursuit, it was hard to imagine ever coming down from the high. If anything, another gold later that night in men’s curling just kept it going.

When Sidney Crosby scored the Golden Goal that gave Canada’s its record-setting 14th gold medal on the final day of the Games, there was no stopping the spontaneous street celebrations from coast to coast.

Since then, the pride has never died but only grown.