If every Canadian athlete could close like Maelle Ricker did Tuesday, the country would own the Winter Games podium.
Ricker went from eight knee surgeries, from being helicoptered off the course after a crash in Turin, to ending up with two final rides in snowboard cross that had a 2009 Yankees-esque air of inevitability with Lindsey Jacobellis out of the picture after a semifinal spinout.
That's what Canadian sports success should look like. Not to overly idealize someone, but Ricker is suited to be the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic event on home soil, along with being the first honest-to-goodness British Columbian to win in these Games. This is someone who seems to view her sport as larger as herself, hoping the Olympics will make people "want to go play in the mountains afterward. Ultimately it’s all about getting active and getting outside." That speaks to her willingness to be a role model, something young females always have trouble finding.
Considering the way Canada is taking it on the chin in the last day or two for self-involvement, it's good to have a winner who doesn't seem self-involved. One would hope people remember Ricker for a good long time.
Beyond that, Canada has a gold and silver in the first two events, which have been called board games for the 21st century. People can bat back and forth whether it is nobler to go for medals in newer disciplines that originated in North America, or bashing away in more traditional disciplines, like cross-country skier Ian Babikov did with his top-10 finish on Monday.
There is an argument for excelling at the events fans vote for with their wallets and leisure time. Cypress Mountain is a place to be, even though ticket holders have been given refunds because of the conditions. The Canadian success doesn't completely balance out VANOC's problems, but face it, it's what revs most people's engine. So far, Canada has medaled in every event there, including the gold and silver in moguls.
Ricker also won just 48 hours after Alexandre Bilodeau claimed the first gold. It was five days between the first and second golds in Turin, so yes, this is one to celebrate.
Two golds in the can, even before men's hockey commands the focus? And a winner from each end of the country? That's more than decent for Canada.