It came tantalizingly close to being a miracle but in the end, Team USA came up, in the heartbreaking words of MVP goaltender Ryan Miller, "just one shot short" in men's hockey final in the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Ryan kept the Americans in contention throughout the game with his unbelievable saves. When America equalized 2-2 with only 24.4 seconds remaining in regulation time, a miracle beckoned. But it was not to be. Sidney Crosby found a way to beat Miller in sudden-death overtime, redeeming himself and an entire nation that lives and dies by hockey.
Perhaps it was fitting that the game should end this way but what Team USA accomplished is nothing short of miraculous. From now onwards, USA will be considered a legitimate contender for the gold. Ryan Miller, Patrick Kane and others have shown the way and there is no stopping the American momentum. There maybe setbacks on the way to the summit (just ask Canada) but eventually America will get there and remain there before another upstart nation climbs its way to the top.
The curtain comes down on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics tonight. For Canada with the largest haul of gold medals (14), it was a spectacular success. The USA won the most medals ever in any Winter Games (37). It began in tragedy but the euphoria of Olympics soon took over. We saw grace and unfortunately, lack of it as well. The artistry, the persistence, the redemption, the inexplicable blunders and the unexpected victories, the relentless drive, the shattered records and the humble heroes (there were a few) - this is what Olympics is about and we got more than what we had any right to expect.
But I am glad the Winter Olympics is over. For 16 days I absorbed more TV than I did in the the last 16 months. The tube will be silent until July when the World Cup Soccer begins in South Africa. But that requires another mindset, another set of loyalties. Go Brazil!