Triumphant end to Winter Olympics

Triumphant end to Winter Olympics

IOC president Jacques Rogge declares Games excellent and friendly

Triumphant end to Winter Olympics

Canadian mounty dancers perform during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Sunday. AFP

The President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge declared the Games "excellent and very friendly" in a closing speech that paid tribute to the Georgian luger who was killed in a training accident before the Games opened on Feb 12.

"We have shared the grief of an Olympic dream cut short. The memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili will always be with us," Rogge said before declaring the Games closed and inviting the world's athletes to reassemble at Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Millions of Canadians had already begun celebrating long before the ceremony began after the host-nation defeated the United States 3-2 in a nerve-churning men's ice hockey final to claim a record 14th gold medal.

The whole country, it seemed, had stopped to watch the three-hour drama on ice. Sidney Crosby scored the winner after the Americans had equalised 24 seconds from the end of regular time to force the match into overtime and threaten to spoil Canada's party.

The hockey was one of just two medals decided on the last day with Norway's Petter Northug winning the first in the men's 50km cross country ski race at Whistler after the closest ever finish to the lung-bursting event.

Northug sneaked past Germany's Axel Teichmann right at the finish line to win the gold by just 0.3 seconds with Sweden's Johan Olsson taking the bronze.

Canada were already assured of finishing top of the standings for the first time at either a Winter or Summer Olympics but beating their American neighbours was the perfect ending for the hockey-crazy host nation. The Canadian victory set a new record for golds won by any nation at a single Winter Games, surpassing the previous mark of 13 jointly held by the Soviet Union (Innsbruck, 1976) and Norway (Salt Lake City, 2002).