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US on course for a historic medal haul

india Updated: Feb 23, 2010 23:22 IST

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Losing a hockey game to the United States was embarrassing enough. Now Canada is raising the white flag — giving up on its brash goal of winning the most medals at the Vancouver Games.

The US remains on course for a historic medal haul, with a chance to take home the most hardware at the Winter Games for the first time in almost 80 years. But Canada's 'Own the Podium' program is in tatters. And a surprising, demoralising loss to a young American team in ice hockey — a sport Canada invented — is only making the pain deeper. “Woe Canada: US sticks stake in our hearts,” read Vancouver Sun’s headline.

“It was very disappointing,” said George Assaf, a Vancouver firefighter who was wearing a Canada hockey jersey as he took photos of the Olympic cauldron Monday. “The Canadians didn't play up to their standards. But I'm still hopeful we'll pull it out in the end.”

After the 10th day of competition Monday, the U.S. led the overall medal count with 25 - four more than Germany. The U.S. and Germany were tied for the most golds, seven each. Canada had just five gold and 10 medals overall, a disappointment for a country that spent $117 million (Rs 540 crore) over five years to give extra support to contending athletes and dominate the medals stand.

On Monday, they conceded defeat. “We'd be living in a fool's paradise if we said we're going to catch the Americans and win,” said Chris Rudge, chief executive of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

The USOC has been careful not to make medal forecasts, boast about the success so far or take pleasure from Canada's failed attempt at medal supremacy. The US hasn't topped the medals table at a Winter Olympics since 1932.