Like so many others, I clearly remember saying "This game is over" with about four minutes left. It was a fantastically entertaining game to share with my new friends. I even had no worries at 2-1. The tying goal was a thing of beauty and, at first, a heartbreaker. But soon I realized that I was not that upset. After all, I truly love Canada. I loved Vancouver when I was there for the 2010 Winter Games and want to retire there.
So when the women's game went to overtime, I was torn. I felt a little guilty for feeling good about the Canadian comeback, but I really wasn't that upset. I was having too much fun. Even when the game-winning goal was scored, I felt heartbroken for the American women and their families but also got a kick out of the joy it brought to my office mates. If the U.S. was going to lose, at least it was to my second-favorite country.
My favorite moment -- and it is a moment, not a game or play or day -- occurred at Draft, a restaurant in Sochi. I arrived there to watch Russia take on Slovenia in the host country's first game of the men's hockey tournament. My assignment was to mingle with the Russian fans. I looked around the place and hesitated. In the charged Russia-America discourse, it's hard to escape preconceptions, and that's too bad.
The world over, and with few exceptions, we all want the same things out of life. We want a peaceful, prosperous environment in which to raise our families and pursue inner fulfillment. That's obvious. But in the rhetorical battle between Russia and the West, which has reached the level of propaganda in recent years, it's important to remember the obvious. Politics are one thing, humanity another.
The Olympics are supposed to promote fair play and harmonious feeling between people of different cultures. The ideological white noise between East and West threatened this ideal. So my favorite Olympic moment happened when I approached a table of Russians in Draft. They looked up at me, smiled and said come have a seat.
My favorite Olympic moment was watching Teemu Selanne capture bronze, the 43-year-old winger closing out his Finland national team career with a fourth career medal in his sixth Olympics.
You could see the pride he had in wearing his country's colors as well as being a part of Finnish teams over the years that found ways to win three bronze medals and a silver in the five NHL Olympics.
After his final game Saturday night, he spoke eloquently and emotionally about what it all meant to him.
"Twenty-six years ago, I played my first national team game, and I've been carrying this jersey with a lot of pride and love," Selanne said. "Winning this last game like this is a dream come true. I'm so proud of my teammates and what a great ending."
Let's hope his actual playing career ends with another Stanley Cup in June in Anaheim. That would be a true farewell.
The morning of men's ski slopestyle finals, I was exhausted. After back-to-back nights covering men's and women's snowboard halfpipe finals, which meant bedtimes that came sometime around 5 or 6 a.m., I struggled to stay awake on the bus ride to Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the venue where I had spent just about every waking moment for the previous two weeks.
But then Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper made it very easy for me to keep my eyes open. Keeping them dry, well, that was another story.