As the Winter Games wrapped up in Vancouver, Canada, Germany looks back at two exciting and successful weeks. In the end, German athletes came second in the medals table.
Vancouver was a showcase for Germany's young athletes
The Vancouver Games was a showcase of spectacular, exciting and also emotionally-charged sport.
The world-class performances, however, were not the only thing deserving of medals. Just as impressive was the atmosphere at the host cities. Canada went above and beyond in its role as host as it celebrated together with its guests from around the world - which isn't hard to believe given that the host nation won more gold medals than any other country.
Germany's Maria Riesch won two gold medals
A golden host
Canada succeeded in reaching its goal of "owning the podium" over the last two weeks. The government and the national Olympics committee invested around 80 million euros into bringing Canada to the top of the winter sport podium, which is no proof that money can buy medals but certainly an example that it doesn't hurt one's chances.
Germany, meanwhile, was unsuccessful in defending its Olympic success at Turin in 2006. That is no reason, however, for the country to wear a long face. With 10 gold medals, Germany's performance at Vancouver was more than solid. Most German favorites came through in the clutch, and an assortment of young stars made Vancouver their breakthrough Games.
Young German heroics
Germany's future at the Winter Olympics is very optimistic, even if many veterans make Vancouver their final stage. The next generation of German stars was more than radiant during the last two weeks. Take 23-year-old biathlete Magdalena Neuner, for instance, who earned two gold medals and a silver at her first Olympic Games.
"I think I need to sit down for a while before I fully realize what I've done," a beaming Neuner told reporters. "It's not sunk in yet. I knew I could get a medal but now I have three and this is just unbelievable. I need days or weeks to realize this."
'It's not sunk in yet,' Neuner said. The biathlon star won three medals at the Olympics. 'I knew I could get a medal but now I have three and this is just unbelievable.'
Speedskater Stephanie Beckert, 21, ended up with a gold and two silvers, and downhill skier Viktoria Rebensburg earned gold at the tender age of 20. Downhill skiing standout Maria Riesch, at 25, looked like a veteran as she collected two gold medals this year.
"This second gold medal is absolutely amazing," she said after her second victory. "I knew that I could win the race. But you never know in slalom. I pushed away any thoughts of winning the race. I just concentrated on my run."
Riesch will be back to defend those titles in Russia in 2014.
These new names and all the others were a joy to watch as they infected us with Olympics fever over the past two weeks. And though there were certainly instances of doping that went unnoticed, there were no serious cases to ruin the atmosphere.
The icy tracks at Whistler were a source of frustration for many athletes who crashed at high speeds and lost their hopes of victory.
The tracks also lead to the tragedy of 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili losing his life in a tragic pre-race accident.
The accident was the source of extensive debate on safety issues, with many arguing that the speeds reached on the Whistler track were too dangerous.
Author: Stefan Nestler/glb
Editor: Andreas Illmer