2014 Olympics: A Rivalry Continues

By GIULIA MILANA

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia have begun.  Eighty-eight nations from all over the world have prepared for the 2014 Winter Olympics since the conclusion of the Vancouver Winter Olympics four years ago. With ninety-eight events covering fifteen different winter sports, over 2,500 athletes are ready for what will undoubtedly be an exciting, action-packed two weeks of sports.

Team Canada celebrates after Sidney Crosby scores the game-winning goal in the gold medal game against Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

Team Canada celebrates after Sidney Crosby scores the game-winning goal in the gold medal game against Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

One winter sport that stands out to many spectators is men’s ice hockey. Starting on February 12, twelve teams will compete in the men’s tournament: Canada, United States, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Latvia. The hockey competitions will be played at two state-of-the-art venues, the Bolshoy Ice Dome and the Shayba Arena, both located within the southern Russian city.

Within the sport, though, there is a matchup that provides a lot of exhilaration for the fans and players. The United States and Canada have had an unwavering rivalry dating back to the beginning of international hockey.  In 1920, these countries met in the first Olympic hockey tournament in Antwerp, Belgium, in which Canada won the gold medal and the United States won the silver.  The United States has only beaten Canada for the gold medal once, which was at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California.  The United States and Canada intensified their rivalry in 1991, when one of the greatest Canadian hockey players, Wayne Gretzky, was infamously injured. The hall of fame player was cross-checked by an American defenseman, Gary Suter.

Players from Team USA are forced to look on after losing the gold medal game to Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

Players from Team USA are forced to look on after losing the gold medal game to Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

In 1996, the United States defeated Canada in the World Cup of Hockey, which took place in Montreal, Canada.  In the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, Canada beat the United States for the gold. The most recent Canadian victory was in the 2010 Olympics, which was held in Vancouver, Canada. The gold-medal game involved a sudden-death overtime, in which Canadian superstar, Sidney Crosby, scored on all-star American goalie, Ryan Miller. After four years, the United States team is more determined than ever to bring home the gold.

Now, as the 2014 Winter Olympics approaches, discussion about the highly anticipated United States and Canada competition is buzzing around the hockey community. The 2010 Olympic MVP goalie, Ryan Miller, will return to the U.S. lineup.  Along with him, Team USA is composed of many high-profile players: Dustin Brown, captain of the Los Angeles Kings; Patrick Kane, two-time Stanley Cup champion of the Chicago Blackhawks; and Zach Parise, left wing for the Minnesota Wild and designated captain for Team USA.

SOC_Olympic logoRGBFor Team Canada, game-winning all-star Sidney Crosby will be returning to the lineup, not only as a player, but as team captain.  Alongside Crosby will be other storied NHL all-stars: John Tavares, center for the New York Islanders; Corey Perry, Stanley Cup champion for the Anaheim Ducks; and Martin St. Louis, former Canadian Olympian and Stanley Cup champion for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With the 2014 Olympic Ice Hockey games already underway, the excitement in the air is palpable. Team USA is determined to redeem themselves for the devastating loss in 2010, but Team Canada is looking to keep their winning streak alive with another gold medal.  No matter the victor, the enduring rivalry between the United States and Canada will only intensify after the 2014 Olympic Games, so hockey fans can look forward to more thrilling games in the future.

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