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Canada's Hockey Team Beats U.S. in Overtime (2010)
You can never accuse the final event of the Vancouver Games of lacking excitement. In a thrilling rematch, a week after the U.S. beat Canada, the Canucks avenged the loss with a 3-2 overtime win to claim the men's hockey gold thanks to a between-the-pads shot by Sidney Crosby. The victory was temporarily delayed in regulation when American Zach Parise tied the game with 24 seconds left. The win gave the host nation a record 14th gold medal — the most by a country at one Winter Olympics.
2 of 18 Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Sarah Hughes Surprises in Salt Lake (2002)
In fourth place after the short program, 16-year-old Hughes skated the long program of her life, producing a perfect routine with seven triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations. She was the first woman to land two triple-triple combos in one program. Her technical prowess, combined with flubs by Michelle Kwan, Irina Slutskaya and Sasha Cohen, vaulted her to the top of the podium and denied Kwan a gold medal yet again.
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Dan Jansen — Golden, At Last (1994)
A favorite entering the 1988 Games, the long track speed skater stumbled in the 500-meter race soon after learning that his sister, Jane, died earlier in the day from leukemia. He faltered a few days later in the 1,000-meter, and failed again in both distances in 1992. In 1994, he slipped in the 500-meter and went into the 1,000-meter as a longshot — but won, setting a world record. Jansen dedicated his gold medal to Jane and took a victory lap with his baby daughter. Her name? Jane.
4 of 18 Daniel Janin/AFP/Getty Images
Battle of the Brians (1988)
In a duel for the ages, American Brian Boitano battled Canadian Brian Orser for figure skating supremacy on Orser's home turf. Orser held a slight lead going into the long program, during which Boitano dazzled the crowd with a triple axel, becoming the first American man to land one. Orser two-footed a landing, giving Boitano the gold. Boitano is the last American man to win figure skating gold.
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Eric Heiden Goes Five for Five (1980)
Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps may have won more gold medals (with some coming in relays) but they may not be able to beat Heiden when it comes to endurance. In one of the most dominant performances in Olympic history, the long track speed skater swept all five distances in 1980, ranging from the 500-meter sprint to the grueling 10,000. Heiden, who set four Olympic records and one world record in the process, was the first person to win five individual golds in a Summer or Winter Games.
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Tonya vs. Nancy (1994)
Seven weeks after Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed by a man connected to Tonya Harding in one of the biggest scandals in Winter Olympic history, the two took to the ice in a highly anticipated showdown. The short-program broadcast had 45.69 million homes tuning in — the sixth-highest percentage of households of all time. The long-program broadcast — during which Kerrigan claimed silver and Harding finished eighth after asking for a re-skate — attracted 41.54 million households.
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Apolo Anton Ohno Becomes Most Decorated U.S. Winter Olympian (2010)
With a silver and two bronzes, Ohno cruised into the record books in Vancouver as the United States' most decorated Winter Olympian with eight career medals, trumping Bonnie Blair's former record of six. Eight turned out to be enough for the short track star, who did not compete after Vancouver and officially retired in 2013.
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Hermann Maier Spills and Thrills (1998)
Austria's Herminator took a massive spill during the downhill competition, flying 30 feet off-course before crashing into two fences. Three days later, he remarkably won the Super-G. Three days after that, he claimed gold in the giant slalom.
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Bonnie Blair's Big Haul (1994)
The speed-skating dynamo snared five gold medals and one bronze during her career to become the most decorated Winter Olympian in U.S. history until Apolo Anton Ohno dethroned her in 2010 and the first American woman to win five gold medals at the Winter Games. In 1994, at her fourth and final Olympics, Blair became the first speed skater to three-peat in an event when she defended her 500-meter crown.
10 of 18 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
After delivering a flawless program, Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier seemed destined for pairs figure skating gold — until the scores placed them in second behind Russians Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, who botched their double axel. A French judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, claimed she was pressured by the French skating federation to vote for the Russians in exchange for their votes for the French in the ice dancing event. She later retracted the claim, but the scandal set in motion the implementation of a new scoring system (goodbye, 6.0s!). Sale and Pelletier later received golds.
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Dick Button's Golden Leap (1948)
Button revolutionized figure skating with some bold revolutions in the air. The then 18-year-old landed the first-ever double axel en route to victory in 1948. Four years later, he defended his gold with another groundbreaking jump — the triple loop.
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Steven Bradbury Is the Last Man Standing (2002)
In one of the unlikeliest Olympic victories — and a testament to the unpredictability of short track — Australian Steven Bradbury claimed his country's first gold at a Winter Olympics after all four of his competitors ahead of him crashed at the final turn in the 1000-meter. "Obviously I wasn't the fastest skater. I don't think I'll take the medal as the minute-and-a-half of the race I actually won," he said. "I'll take it as the last decade of the hard slog I put in."
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Jean-Claude Killy's Triple Crown (1968)
The dashing Frenchman swept the three alpine events (slalom, giant slalom and downhill) at his home Olympics — but not without some drama. After claiming to have seen someone on the course, Austria's Karl Schranz was granted a restart on his second slalom run and finished first. Officials later disqualified Schranz for missing a gate, giving Killy his third gold.
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Joannie Rochette Skates for Mom (2010)
Two days after her mother, Therese, died of a heart attack, Rochette paid tribute to her with an emotional performance that earned her a personal best score in the short program. Rochette maintained remarkable composure during her skate, only bursting into tears after she finished. She went on to win the bronze and was chosen as Canada's flagbearer for the closing ceremony.
15 of 18 Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Shea Wins One for Grandpa (2002)
A third-generation Olympian, Shea became the first American to win the skeleton. He kept a photo of his grandfather, two-time speed-skating gold medalist Jack Shea, who died two weeks earlier, in his helmet for good luck.
16 of 18 George Gobet/AFP/Getty Images
Jamaica's Cool Runnings (1988)
The tropical nation made its Winter Olympics debut with its four-man bobsled team, which became a cult favorite for its admirable efforts. After flipping over their sled, the racers emerged unscathed and walked to the finish to great applause. Five years later, Disney released Cool Runnings, loosely based on the team, and the following year, the Jamaican bobsledders placed a respectable 14th in Lillehammer.
17 of 18 Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
Lindsey Jacobellis Slips Up for Silver (2006)
With a sizeable lead, Jacobellis seemed to be a shoo-in for the first-ever snowboard cross gold until she styled out a method grab on the penultimate jump. She lost her balance and tumbled onto the snow, allowing Switzerland's Tanja Frieden to pass her. Jacobellis recovered for silver.
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Miracle on Ice (1980)
Do you believe in miracles? In one of the greatest moments in sports history, Herb Brooks' rag-tag U.S. team uplifted the spirits of a disheartened nation with its upset of hockey juggernaut Soviet Union. The Soviets, who had won the previous four Olympics, fell 4-3, thanks to stellar goaltending from Jim Craig and a game-winning goal from team captain Mike Eruzione. Two days later, the team won its improbable gold with another come-from-behind victory against Finland.