With gold-medal hopefuls Lindsey Vonn, Shani Davis, and Shaun White all in action Wednesday, sportswriters forecasted a good day for American medal hopes at the Winter Olympics. When all three won gold and were joined on the podium by a trio of upstart U.S. athletes, good gave way to historic.
Finishing the day with three golds, a silver and two bronze medals, the U.S. set a new American record for most Winter Olympic medals in a single day. The haul equaled the all-time Olympic one-day record and matched the U.S. total from the entire Calgary Olympics in 1988.
Columnists scrambled to find language worthy of the historic spectacle, unloading far-reaching proclamations to salute the American sextet.
- Best Day of All Time Placing the day's events above the legendary 'Miracle on Ice,' Sports Illustrated's Brian Cazeneuve argues this day stands alone in U.S. Winter Olympics history:
Mark the day February 17, 2010 in an Olympic history book. Then hold it up as a benchmark for future days, because it may well have been the single greatest day the U.S. Olympic team has ever had at a Winter Olympics. No, there was no Miracle on Ice, and Eric Heiden didn't win a jillion gold medals, but here is the case: Never before has a U.S. team won six medals in a single day at the Winter Games.
- Forgotten Athletes Made This Possible The Washington Post's Tracee Hamilton throws in a shout-out to the three lesser-known Americans who surprised with silver or bronze. "Medals at the Winter Olympics can be slippery little suckers," she writes. "A fraction of a second, a ski catching an edge or a blade hitting a bad patch, and your chance is gone for four long years. But the surprise Wednesday was not so much that these three American stars met expectations, but that three others exceeded them."
- Shaun White Greatest Among Greats "America was on a ridiculous roll here, teetering on the verge of winning three gold medals in the same day for only the second time ever in the Winter Games," recounts AOL Fanhouse's Lisa Olson, setting the scene for White's sublime late-night performance on the snowboard halfpipe. "White didn't just defend the Olympic title he won in 2006," Olson gushes. "He soared through the crisp, clear-as-ice Canadian sky, higher than anyone thought possible, twisting and spiraling and throwing back a double cork off the 22-foot wall in a sublime handful of seconds."
- Some Golds Not Worth as Much Not everyone is gaga over the U.S.'s record day. The Huffington Post's Dr. Johnny Benjamin applauds the athletes, but laments the cruelty of the Olympic fame machine, which he implies will generate millions of dollars for White and Vonn, but not for speed-skater Davis. "The sad reality is that 2 of the 3 amazing Olympians will be afforded many opportunities to parlay their glory into millions of dollars and one will fade back into obscurity and a 9 to 5," he laments. "And sadder still...we all know which unfortunate person that is."