Posted on: March 2, 2010 4:32 pm

Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

By Ina Fried

Thinking about the top sports moments of the Vancouver Games, there are many images that stand out, but a few performances that are etched indelibly in my brain. Two of the five are events on my list were ones got to witness firsthand and two others I covered live, albeit watching on a big screen. Over the coming days, I plan to write about my top non-sports moments of the games, as well as some of the not-so-highlights.

1. The gold medal men's hockey game.

Sure, the U.S. didn't bring home the gold, but this was an incredible game that left an entire nation (and some additional millions in the U.S.) on the edge of their seats.

After finding itself in a 2-0 hole, the U.S. crawled back, finally tying the game with 24 seconds left. More than that, there was tons of end-to-end action and an incredible crowd that extended beyond the walls of Canada Hockey Place and to every cathode ray tube and collection of pixels in Canada. Although I had an incredible vantage point from the Molson Hockey House pavilion, I'm told it was just as great outside, downtown in neighborhood pubs and elsewhere. 

A close game and a great tournament could help the NHL and might also help the league commit to working its schedule around the Olympics in the future. I was also glad to see a team win it in the overtime. From where I sit, gold medals shouldn't be decided in a shootout.

2. The "Night Train" winning bobsled gold.

America hadn't won a gold in bobsled in 62 years, until Steven Holcomb and team sped through the track at Whistler. Turning in four dominating performances, USA-1 led from the first run and continued to grow its lead throughout the two days of competition. 

The track, which Holcomb and others called the fastest and one of the trickiest in the world made for a challenging Olympic venue. Six teams crashed at some point on Day 1 of the competition, but every bobsled that started on Day 2 managed to turn in a clean run, making for an exciting conclusion.

To claim the gold, the Night Train had to pass up some steep competition including a strong Canadian team and retiring German star Andre Lange who was hoping to go out with a bang, adding yet another gold in his already prodigious collection.

And the fact that Holcomb is a big computer geek, well, that just made it even better. As one of my friends said on Facebook, Holcomb gives hope to every pudgy guy willing to wear spandex.

3. The U.S. beating Canada in men's hockey.

This game set the stage for what proved to be an exciting and wide-open tournament with many countries not expected to fare all that well offering steep competition for the highest-ranked teams. In addition to being an entertaining game to watch, the U.S.-Canada game served as a wake-up call for the Canadians and showed the Americans to be serious contenders.

Though Canada outshot the U.S. by a wide margin, American goalie Ryan Miller came up huge, allowing the U.S. to win the game, even if it appeared to be outplayed at times.

4. Women's figure skating, especially Joannie Rochette.

Clearly the emotional story of the games was Canadian Joannie Rochette, just days after the sudden death of her mother, turning in great performances in both the short and free skate to claim the bronze medal.

The women's event also saw the dominating performance of Korean Kim Yu-Na as well as very nice routines from the Japanese and American women, though there wasn't enough room on the podium for all those that skated well.

But, unlike the men's side of things, there was a lot less bickering and backstabbing once the event was over.

5. Canada's comeback in the medals race.

When the games started, Canada's goal to "own the podium," or lead the medals race seemed highly ambitious. By midway through the games, even its backers were conceding defeat. Then a remarkable thing happened.

Canada, which had failed to win a gold medal in either of the two Olympics it had previously hosted, went on a tear. In the end, Canada went on to win more gold medals -- 14 -- than not only any other country at this year's games, but more than any country at any Winter Games ever. Sure, Germany and the U.S. had more total medals, but Canada definitely managed to change Own the Podium back into a statement as opposed to a punch line.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog "
Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried


Posted on: February 28, 2010 3:09 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2010 8:14 pm

Live Blog from Vancouver: USA vs. Canada

By Ina Fried

Editor's Note: Ina has been in Vancouver for two weeks following the Olympics for CBSSports.com and CNET. She has one thing left to do -- watch USA vs. Canada at the Molson Canadian Hockey House and provide live updates all game (rough job, huh?) Get all your updates here: (You can also chat live with our hockey experts)

Well, that was fast, Molson already has a gold medal T-shirt available.

Meanwhile outside the hockey house hundreds mopre fans are watching on the big screen. The crowd can still be heard a football field way at the Sochi House, a pavilion celebrating the Russian city that will host the next games.

"I feel like a million bucks," said Osachoff, the investment advisor who earlier had his heart half-broken. "I could not be prouder to be a Canadian," he said.

OT 13:00 -- Absolute bedlam in Molson Hockey House as Canada gets the gold. Crosby scores the game-winner. CANADA 3, USA 2

OT 15:45 -- Four minutes gone by in overtime in this destined to be classic game. Canada has just had several great chances that had the crowd ready to celebrate.

OT 17:50 --
It's Four on four. Every heart is pounding. Cowbells sure, but nervous cowbells. As US ices the puck. The crowd breathes for the first time in a minute and 11 seconds.

Overtime --
CTV showed a clip of the Canadian that just missed a gold earlier in cross-country. That was not a clip the crowd wanted to see. "Too soon," yelled one crowd member.

0.0 --
End of regulation 2-2. We will have a full intermission then a 20 minute sudden death overtime. Then, if still tied, a shootout. "My heart just got half broken," said Osachoff. "We're going to piece it together when this game ends and Canada wins."

24.4 --
And the crowd is stunned. 25 seconds from gold and the U.S. scores. Zach Parise knocked it in. USA 2, CANADA 2

54.8 -- Crowd is jumping.

1:17 -- The U.S. net is empty.

2:00 -- Two minutes to go and Coach Ron Wilson will have to decide when to pull Miller. "We want gold," screams the Molson crowd. The screams are constant now.

3:01 -- Crosby had a breakway that could have sealed it. But Miller keeps the U.S. in it with less than three minutes to go. This place is ready to explode.

4:42 -- The crowd is stomping so hard the floor is shaking as "The final countdown" plays during the commercial time out, followed by "We will rock you."

4:54 -- The U.S. is firing at Luongo but he is stopping everything the U.S. can muster. With less than five minutes to go, Miletich is no longer so calm. "Come on you guys," Miletich said. "We need another goal. "

7:45 -- Just how important is this game here? "It's the most important thing you can imagine right now in this country," said Dan Osachoff of Vancouver. What will happen if Canada wins? "We will riot in the streets." If the unspeakable happens? "We're going to go home and cry," Osachoff said.

10:00 -- Ten minutes to go and the cowbells and cheers are getting louder with each save, blocked shot or clear. The Canadian crowd can practically taste gold. "Oh yeah," said Judi Miletich. "We got the gold."

11:30 -- The crowd at Molson Hockey House watches intently as Canada tries to hang on to a 1-goal lead.

16:00 -- But win or lose you get the feeling this raucous crowd is going to help tear down the tent that is housing the Molson Hockey House.

20:00 -- Twenty minutes to go for the gold medal. Team Canada has the home crowd and a one-goal lead.

Editor's Note: For the final period we will post time remaining on the game clock. ENJOY!

4:48 p.m. ET -- CTV shows another series of crowd shots, this time including Molson Hockey House, Robson Square in the heart of downtown Vancouver and Kandahar, Afghanistan, where Canadian troops are stationed.

4:47 p.m. ET -- Second intermission and their playing the hockey song-the puckhead equivilent to "Take me out to the ball game." "The best game you can name is a good ol hockey game," the crowd sings. And of course, they change "The home team wins" to "Canada wins."

4:40 p.m. ET -- With a minute to go Canada had a one-on-none but couldn't convert. The U.S. had a late rush too but couldn't convert and the period ends 2-1.

4:37 p.m. ET -- Three and a half to go and the U.S. nearly ties it. "That's not cool, you guys," said Nathan Harland of Toronto.

4:28 p.m. ET -- U.S. scores to cut lead in half, needless to say no corresponding confetti or cheers at Molson. CANADA 2, USA 1

4:22 p.m. ET -- The U.S. had some golden opportunities on its power play and in the ensuing couple of minutes but Luongop stood tough and keeps it a 2-0 game.

4:20 p.m. ET -- That goal seems to have energized the Molson crowd, which was loudly cheering "Go Canada Go" until Canada picked up a penalty giving US its second power play.

4:17 p.m. ET -- Canada scores just after killing penalty and confetti flies again. Crowd even noisier (perhaps because they have one more period of beer in them). CANADA 2, USA 0

4:14 p.m. ET -- A beach ball is being batted around but it's bad timing. Everyone is way too focused on the game. Meanwhile the U.S. Has killed the penalty and almost immediately the U.S. goes on the power play as Staal called for interference.

4:11 p.m. ET -- Canada will get another power play, its second of the game. Penalty is on Malone for high sticking. Key penalty kill for the U.S. early in 2nd.

4:10 p.m. ET -- The band wraps up just as the puck drops for the second period.

3:55 p.m. ET -- "One is the loneliest number, but it's better than zero," Shaun Verreault says as his band comes back on to play during the first intermission.

3:52 p.m. ET -- The horn sounds and Canada goes into the dressing room with a 1-0 lead as Luongo makes two key stops in the last 30 seconds. Canada had 10 shots and the US 8.

3:48 p.m. ET -- Under two minutes to go, US has killed the penalty and both teams are skating at full strength still 1-0 Canada.

3:44 p.m. ET -- With a one goal lead, Canada gets the first power play of the game.

3:40 p.m. ET -- Canada scores as horn sounds and confetti falls here at Molson. CANADA 1, USA 0

3:35 p.m. ET -- US had a great chance, puck got by Luongo but defenseman kept it from going across the line as we hit the midway point of the first period.

3:33 p.m. ET -- More chances each way, but Miller and Luongo up to the task. Still scoreless with nearly 9 minutes gone in the first period.

3:30 p.m. ET -- CTV pans to a live shot from here at Molson and from Wayne Gretzky's restaurant in Toronto, all packed.

3:29 p.m. ET -- Just over 5 minutes in, chances each way. Crowd at Molson is living and dying with each shot, turnover, check or save.

3:22 p.m. ET -- And we're under way. Huge cheers half a minute in as Canada gets a couple early shots.

3:13 p.m. ET -- Now on stage is speedskater François -Louis Tremblay , five-time medal winner including a gold medal at these games.That leads to a singing of the national anthem at Molson. Their anthem, not mine. Guess we'll hear that later. I'm kidding. I'm objective. Now there's confetti everywhere. And it's just about time to go to the game

3:03 p.m. ET -- Wide Mouth Mason is wrapping up and getting the crowd ramped up for the game. "We want the same color as beer," said lead singer and guitarist Shaun Verreault.

2:08 p.m. ET -- It's just over an hour til game time. They are passing out "Go Canada Go" thundersticks--those inflatable tubes you bang together, as if we needed anything to make things louder.

Plus, I can't believe I didn't hear about this sooner, but there's an iPhone app that plays a Cowbell noise when you shake it. "I just downloaded it from the App store this week, said Sonny Magon of Vancouver. Magon also has an air horn.

Meanwhile the folks sitting next to me are using beer to put on their maple leaf flag temporary tattoos. Well, it is the Molson Canadian Hockey House.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 28, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2010 3:12 pm

Canadian hockey vet shut out of big game

By Ina Fried

Gordon Robertson won a gold medal in the 1952 Olympics but even he didn't land a ticket for today's big game.

It's now about two hours until game time and all of Vancouver is staking out their place to watch the gold medal hockey game.

While lots of people think they deserve tickets, Gordon Robertson has a pretty good case. He was part of the 1952 Canadian gold medal-winning team.

The 83-year old was popular outside Canada Hockey Place where hockey fans took pictures with him and rubbed his gold medal for good luck. But he didn't have a ticket for the big game.

"I wish they had invited our team, Robertson said. "I'm not mad, just disappointed."

Robertson's team went undefeated in 1952, though they did tie the Americans. Robertson noted it was a lot like the first US-Canada game in Vancouver.

They outshot the American team by a two-to-one margin but the U.S. had a hot goalie.

"That's me as a young guy," Robertson said, pointing to a picture of himself in a 1952 team photo.

I don't have a ticket to Canada Hockey Place either, so I'll be watching the game from Molson Canadian Hockey House -- the same spot where I watched the first US-Canada hockey game.
Follow live here

Most of the folks hanging outside Canada Hockey Place were either selling stuff-flags, unofficial T-shirts, etc. or looking to buy tickets. I did hear one guy offering to sell a pair of tickets for $2,800 Canadian.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 24, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2010 8:28 pm

Olympic notebook: A kid's first hockey game

By Ina Fried

A child's first hockey game is a right of passage in Canada.

And Thomas Challis, 5, of Coquitlam, got an exceptionally good introduction to big time hockey, landing the chance to go with his dad to Tuesday's matchup between Switzerland and Belarus.

Thomas' Dad, Roger, patiently explained some of the games finer points, such as the difference between linemen and referees (referees call penalties, while linesman generally do not) and why regular players have hard shin pads and goalies have big soft pads (goalies don't want to give up big rebounds that can lead to scoring chances).

But, Thomas got things pretty quick. "The boys bump each other," he says, "but that's a part of hockey."

Challis noted that he's not totally new to hockey, frequently playing in the alley in back of his house as well as some stick and puck play with his dad at the local ice rink.

"I grew up playing hockey," the kindergartner told me.

At figure skating, all eyes on hockey

After each figure skater performed on Tuesday, there was a rush to check on the score.

Of course, wanting to know what the judges thought of the skater would be normal. But that wasn't the score that many people were focused on, at least for the first few skaters. Following each performance, many spectators would look around to find a neighbor with a radio or cell phone that had the latest score from the Canada-Germany hockey game, which was taking on at the same place.

Photo Gallery: Figure skating images

As Canada built a solid lead and in the hockey game and the figure skating performances went on, the attention did eventually shift to what was happening within the building.

By far the crowd's highlight the emotional performance from Joannie Rochette, whose mom died of a heart attack just days before the Olympic competition. Rochette kept her emotions in check--at least until the skate was done. Then she, her coach, and many others at Pacific Coliseum broke down in tears.

Rochette is in third place after the short program, trailing also spectacular performances from Korea's Yu-Na Kim, who is in first after an impressive skate to a James Bond medley and Japan's Mao Asada, who skated her way into second.

Hockey fever hits Wall Street

Passion for Olympic hockey isn't limited to those in Canada, of course. Brokerage Credit Suisse issued a memo, published by the Wall Street Journal, letting its New York employees know that the firm has decided to pipe in Wednesdy's U.S.-Switzerland hockey games to its auditorium. However, it warns the room only seats 225 people and standing won't be allowed. Employees, according to the memo, should try and get a manager's approval before heading out to snag a seat.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 23, 2010 12:32 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2010 9:03 pm

Marty scoring machine for Swiss team

By Ina Fried

Swiss skater Stefanie Marty is a scoring machine, a fact she proved again in her team’s dramatic shootout win against Russia to capture fifth place in the Olympic tournament.

Marty scored the team’s lone goal in regulation and also notched the shootout winner. That follows a record-breaking four goal performance against China and an earlier hat trick.

But Marty humbly shrugs off mentions of what elite company she is in when it comes to Olympic women scorers.

"It’s great to contribute to the team like this," she said in an interview Monday. "it’s still a team success."

As for the team, Marty noted that after two early losses, the Swiss team came back and did everything it could do. In fact, other than a bad 5 minutes in which Canada scored four or five goals on the Swiss, Marty said the team played solid, disciplined hockey.

“We couldn’t expect to win,” she said, noting the strength of the Canadians. But, she said, the team did have a solid showing and ended with three wins in a row.

While it won’t result in a medal, Marty said she hopes the performance will translate into more resources for the Swiss women;s team. “I hope it means something,” she said. While it was thrilling to play games before more than 5,000 fans in Vancouver, Marty said she is concerned about how many Swiss were paying attention. “I don’t know how many people see it at home.”

As for her personal future, Marty looks forward to spending a couple days in Vancouver and then returning to her college team -- Syracuse -- where she has a game Friday and Saturday.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 21, 2010 3:35 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2010 4:23 pm

Olympic Notebook: Canada vs. U.S. on Super Sunday

By Ina Fried

It's not the Super Bowl, or even the gold medal match-up, but it is most definitely Super Sunday in Canada.

That's because three epic ice hockey battles are on tap, topped by the U.S. and Canada, who square off at 4:30 p.m. PST. The match-up has taken on added importance with the host nation having needed a shootout to defeat Switzerland earlier in the week.

All of Canada is ready for Sunday's huge hockey match-up between the host nation and its rival and neighbor to the south.

As if the pot needed any further stirring, the home page on Yahoo Canada quotes Team USA center Ryan Kesler as saying he hates the Canadian team.

I'm sure that quote will make its way to the Canada locker room. Well, there was unlikely to be any love lost anyway.

Meanwhile, in other top-notch action on Sunday, Sweden will take on Finland, and Russia will take on the Czech Republic.

Fun bit of trivia -- all three hockey games today are rematches of last three Olympic gold medal games from 1998, 2002 and 2006

PC Guy' goes for bobsled gold
Not all the action on Sunday is on the ice. U.S. bobsledder Steven Holcomb, whose geeky tendencies I profiled recently , makes his final two runs on Sunday in the two-man bobsled. After the first two runs, Holcomb sits in fourth place, just a few hundredths of a second out of a podium position.

That event was originally slated to start at 4:30 p.m. ET, but has been pushed back more than two hours to keep the competition out of the mid-day sun. Yes, it's still the Spring Olympics.

And still to come later this week, "PC guy" Holcomb will team up with "Mac guy" Steve Mesler as they and two others try to take home the gold in the four-man event.

Lining up to shop
People are queing up for all kinds of things in this town. And while I can understand lining up to hold a gold medal or ride a zip line, the most surprising line to me is the substantial one outside the main Olympic store downtown. Already open 9 a.m. to midnight, the store is now open 24 hours a day on Fridays and Saturdays to accommodate those looking to part with their Toonies.

But those in line on Sunday said it was worth the 45-minute wait.

"We just want to get a hoodie," said Paul Cheng of Langley, B.C. "It's a big event."

Besides, said friend Jerry Lee, the line Sunday morning was far less than the two-and-a-half-hour wait the first time he tried to shop.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog "
Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

Posted on: February 17, 2010 7:46 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2010 8:33 pm

Scenes from an Olympic hockey game

By Ina Fried

It may not have been the most anticipated hockey matchup, but there was plenty of excitement inside Canada Hockey Place on Wednesday as Finland took on Belarus in the first game of the day.

Like many of the fans I talked to, I chose this game because it was the one I could get tickets to. Among those in that camp was Gareth Farfan, who brought his daughter Lily. Outside the arena, he stopped to get her a Finnish flag, choosing to cheer for them because Sami Salo, a member of the local Vancouver Canucks, plays on Team Finland.

Farfan got his flag from Ross Woo, a local vendor whose brother has a store that carries flags from all the competing countries. Woo was doing brisk business selling cowbells and flags, ranging from small $5 ones to $20 large ones. The only problem -- Woo didn't bring enough change. "I'm just trying to survive here," Woo said.

As I got to the arena, I was a bit worried, having paid a scalper about $90 for a ticket with a $140 face value. Despite the fear that I might have been duped, the ticket was indeed legitimate and I headed to my seat, which ended up being in the fourth row and close to one goal.

Inside, the arena was well stocked with Finnish fans, both those that had made the long journey as well as some from the area.

Glassmaker Erkka Heikkila and his frend Joona Korpimaki, a construction worker, were pleased to be finally at the Games after a challenging trip from Finland. Heikkila said that the pair had a glitch with their hotel and looked to be without housing. "Some family took us in for the rest of the games," he said. "People here are so kind."

As the game got underway, I got my first lesson in Finnish. Cheers of "Hyva Suomi (pronounced Uva Sue-a-mi)" filled the stands.

That means "Go Finland," explained Sanni Kallio, the Finnish woman sitting next to me. Although she is here for a weeek, Kallio said this was the only game she had managed to get tickets to. "Hockey is very popular in Finland," she said. "It's like the national sport."

Photo Gallery: Pictures from Finland vs. Belarus

Kallio was there with friend Pauliina Meri. Meri's boyfriend, Tapio Luusua, was in Vancouver skiing moguls as part of the Finnish delegation. He finished 21st, one place shy of making the finals.

"He's getting old," Kallio joked to her friend.

As the game started, Kallio was confident of the outcome. "We all know what is going to happen," she said.

While Finland's roster is filled with NHL Stars like Teemu Selanne, Mikka Kiprusoff and Olli Jokinen, Belarus has view household names. One of the best known players from Belarus is defensman Ruslan Salei of the Colorado Avalanche.

Behind me, semi-retired provincial judge William Diebolt agreed that we probably wouldn't see much action in our end until the teams switched sides and the Finns skated towards us. However, Diebolt said warned not to count Belarus out. "They wacked the ol' Swedes," he said, in a reference to the 2002 Winter Games when Belarus upset Sweden in the quarterfinal round of the Salt Lake City games.

In the end, though, Finland was dominant, allowing just four shots in the first two periods, cruising to a 5-1 victory. But, as fans waving the Belarussian flags til end demonstrated, it really wasn't about the score. It was about people from around the world connecting around a shared love of hockey.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com