Canada had won seven gold medals in men's ice hockey, but none of them had ever come on home soil.
That all changed today.
Sidney Crosby beat Ryan Miller along the near post to send an entire nation into a complete frenzy. From Halifax to Montreal, from Toronto to Calgary, from Edmonton to Vancouver, the Canadians are gold medalists.
It wasn't easy, though. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry, but the Americans responded. After a deflection goal by Ryan Kesler made the score 2-1, the Americans really turned up the heat. All of the energy they displayed earlier on in the tournament came out. They stopped playing hesitantly and they really put the pressure on the Canadians. As the third period went on, the same thing continued.
The Americans pressed, the Canadians fought them off. It would take 19 minutes, 35 seconds before a crack would show. Roberto Luongo misplayed a puck in front and Zach Parise sent the United States into a frenzy, putting the puck through the Canadian goalie and tying the game just within the nick of time.
In overtime, the game was pretty even. Both teams had chances, both teams made big defensive stops, and in the end, it was the game's most recognizable face who would end it. Crosby just took an quick, innocent little shot to beat Miller on the short side. Canada, Olympic champions.
It's a painful loss for the Americans, who were large underdogs heading into this tournament. They were picked by most to leave Vancouver without a medal, and with that, winning a silver is an unbelievable accomplishment. But when you're as close as USA was to winning gold, there's no doubt that it stings. A lot.
This American team is the product of the next generation of USA hockey. General manager Brian Burke proved that he knows how to put a strong hockey team together, and with the youth on this club, the Americans will be a force to reckon with in the Olympic games should the NHL decide to continue sending players. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
For now, though, Canada celebrates. They struggled at times in this tournament, but in the end their talent and hard work paid off. It's rather fitting that the final anthem played at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver is "Oh, Canada!"