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Gord Gillies: A look at how our athletes performed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea

Ice dance gold medalists Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir look up to the crowd during victory ceremonies at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Tuesday, February 20, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Another Olympics has come and gone. How did Pyeongchang rank in your world?

As I take a moment to reflect as a proud Canadian,  I think I’ll go with an eight out of 10.

There was the usual array of highs and lows, shockers and heartbreaks and even a couple of failed drug tests. (Hello Olympians from Russia!)

Admittedly, a stunningly stupid blunder by some drunk Canadian athletes in a stolen car tainted our image a bit. Not good.

But, in the big picture, Canadians have got to be happy with the most medals – ever – at an Olympic Games.

We won 29 medals. That’s three more than our record eight years ago in Vancouver – including 11 Gold.

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Highlights for me: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in Ice Dance.

Who knew you could be so scorching on skates? Especially after having hung out in rinks together for 20 years.

WATCH BELOW: Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue sign autographs, take photos with fans after arriving in London, Ont.

Click to play video: 'Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue sign autographs, take photos with fans after arriving in London, Ont.' Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue sign autographs, take photos with fans after arriving in London, Ont.
Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue sign autographs, take photos with fans after arriving in London, Ont – Feb 26, 2018

READ MORE: Fans sing ‘O Canada’ to greet Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at London International Airport

There’s skating talent, and then there’s passion. And we saw it all in that final performance. Add in Moir chirping at the refs during Men’s hockey– beer in hand–and I think a star is born. Line up the companies for endorsements.

I loved Kaitlyn Osmond’s bronze medal performance under that intense pressure and the smile on Alex Gough’s face as she won the first-ever medal for Canada in luge. That smile could light up a room brighter than a free LED light from the Alberta government.

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READ MORE: Olympic athletes return to Canada: ‘It feels good bringing it home’

Add in medals from the terrifying NASCAR-style sports, like short track speedskating and ski and snowboard cross, and there was plenty of late night nail-biting and early morning yelling in our home.

It’s cool that we’re so good at so many really cool sports.

On the downside, not winning gold in hockey obviously stings. A shootout silver for the women was “meh.”

I guess you can’t win them all.  And actually, I’m pleased the men won a medal as it was a career highlight for most of them. It would have stung more if it was our NHL stars getting bronze.

READ MORE: Germany issues ‘travel advisory’ after beating Canada in 2018 Winter Olympics hockey

I just wish Germany had gone on to win gold over the previously mentioned Olympic athletes of Russia.

One of the most painful things for me was watching our curling skips. As the losses started to add up, close-ups on Rachel Homan and Kevin Koe clearly showed what pressure looks like– and fear – as those Golden expectations started to fade away.

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READ MORE: Curler Marc Kennedy puts Olympic disappointment in perspective upon return to Alberta

Sport can be brutal. And heartbreaking. Watching Gabrielle Daleman burst into tears after her tough long skate, you just wanted to give her a big hug.

Was there an Eddie the Eagle or Jamaican bobsled moment in South Korea?  Nothing jumps out for me. With social media non-stop, 24-7 it’s hard to be an original these days.

Maybe that non-trick ski halfpipe woman? I don’t know, her effort seemed about as contrived as Justin Trudeau going Bollywood.

I’m writing this as I watch the closing ceremonies; a very impressive high-tech, k-pop extravaganza.  The flame just flickered out. When that happened in Calgary 30 years ago the crowd at McMahon stadium yelled NO!!!

Will there be a repeat here in 2026?   Let the debate resume and let’s hope we all have a say in it.

But for South Korea, yeah, this Canuck gives it an eight out of 10 from a fan perspective. 8.5 when it comes to rating the host country.

Even though there seemed to be a lot of empty seats, the games seemed to go off with few big problems and we didn’t hear a peep out of Kim Jung Un.

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Congratulations to all of our medal winners and thanks to all of our 225 Canadian athletes.  Only a special handful get to represent us wearing the maple leaf on the world stage. Take a bow.

And, hey, Paralympians?  Go get ’em!

 

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