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Long Wait Is Over For Canada's Olympic Hockey Dreams - 2002-02-25

The final medal event of the 2002 Winter Olympics was men's ice hockey, with Canada's 5-2 defeat of the United States.

The long half a century wait is finally over for Canada's men's ice hockey team at the Olympics. The Canadians won the gold medal in their nation's most popular sport for the first time since 1952.

Ironically, the numbers five and two also figured here in the winning score, with Canada emerging victorious over team USA, 5-2. At the same time, it was the American's first ever defeat in a men's Olympic hockey game played on home ice. The U.S. streak of 21 wins and three ties included gold at the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calfornia, 1980 in Lake Placid, New York, and all the games here in the hockey tournament leading up to the final.

The loss ended U.S. coach Herb Brooks' quest to lead a second gold-medal winning team, 22 years after the famous "Miracle on Ice" that was achieved with a mostly unknown collegiate team. But here in Salt Lake City and at the last Olympics at Nagano, professionals from the National Ice Hockey league have been allowed to participate.

In fact, in Sunday's final, players from nine different NHL teams played against one another as part of the Canadian and American national teams.

The bronze medal was decided Saturday, with Russia defeating Belarus, 7-2.