Before the 2010 Olympics began, Apolo Ohno said if the Games had been held anywhere but Vancouver -- the place where he learned to skate -- his Olympic career would have ended already. Instead Ohno headed home from Canada with three new medals (eight total), now the most decorated American Winter Olympian in history.
In an Olympics replete with huge names -- Ohno, Lindsey Vonn, Yevgeny Plushenko, Shaun White and Kim Yu-Na -- it was perhaps appropriate that Ohno's final medal came in the 5,000m relay, a team event. Over the course of 17 days, Team USA earned 37 medals -- the most ever by one country in one Games, besting Germany's mark of 36 set at Salt Lake. The feat was even more impressive considering it was the first time the U.S. earned the most medals in a Winter Olympics since 1932 at Lake Placid.
They earned medals in sports where they were expected to excel; Shaun White wowed with the back-to-back double-cork, and despite an ankle injury, Lindsey Vonn won Alpine gold. But Team USA also excelled in sports no one expected them to win.
Going into Vancouver, no American had ever won a medal in Nordic Combined. For 86 years Americans ski jumped and cross country skied, but always went home empty handed. One Olympiad changed everything; 17 days after the lighting of the Olympic Flame, the United States had earned 4 medals in Nordic Combined including a gold for Bill Demong. Team USA ended another dubious streak on the next-to-last day of the Games when the four-man bobsled (dubbed "Night Train) piloted by Steve Holcomb sped to Olympic gold ending a 62-year winless drought in the event.
Despite the triumphs and highs at Vancouver, the Games were also touched by tragedy. Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a training run before the Games began, prompting concerns about track safety, and just days before she was due to skate in the women's short program, Canada's Joannie Rochette learned that her mother had died of a heart attack. Rochette's emotional teary-eyed performances were among the Games' most memorable and endearing moments, and the skater was honored by her countrymen with the privilege of carrying the Canadian flag during the closing ceremony.
For 17 days across the networks of NBC Universal more than 835 hours of Olympic coverage were shown. Hockey and Curling were streamed live online, and Bob Costas, Al Michaels (who called the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game from Lake Placid in 1980) and Mary Carillo anchored NBC's broadcasts.
With the Olympic Flame extinguished in Vancouver, another countdown begins. The London Olympics begin on July 27, 2012, and once again, NBC will be there for the broadcast. In the meantime, viewers can continue to follow Olympic sports at NBC Sports, Universal Sports TV and Universalsports.com.