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2010 Winter Olympics notebook: Canadian gold rush

Hockey players Kaillie Humphries, right, and Heather Moyse
Hockey players Kaillie Humphries, right, and Heather Moyse
Ricardo Mazalan, Associated Press

Just days after conceding it wouldn't win the most Olympic medals overall, Canada — led by its women — has come surging back and now has a chance to finish with the biggest haul of gold.

The powerful women's hockey team beat the United States 2-0 late Thursday afternoon to win Canada's eighth gold medal — its most ever in any Winter Olympics — and tie Germany and the U.S. for the lead in these Games. The capacity crowd cheering on the women included hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Excellent chances remain for the host country over the final few days. The men's hockey team is favored in its semifinal today against Slovakia, some strong skaters compete in short track today night, and the men's and women's curling teams won their semifinals Thursday to advance to gold-medal matches.

Just a few days earlier, Canada figuratively waved the white flag, acknowledging that it would not catch the United States in the overall medal count. That had been the explicit goal of an unprecedented $117 million, five-year program called Own The Podium, which invested public and private dollars into developing medal contenders.