Phew. It’s been all Olympics, all the time for the past two weeks, and I’m ready to say goodbye to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. But first, my own gold medals go to the things I loved about these Winter Olympics:

Patriotic feelings. Canadians are normally shy about this, at least compared to Americans, but put us in the Olympics, especially on home turf, and watch out for the flags, red & white clothing, Canadian flag tattoos and spontaneous outbursts of our national anthem. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like the Canadian hospitality suite at the IABC World Conferences.

The feeling of goodwill that seemed to permeate the games. Well, until it came down to the big Canada vs. USA hockey game, when it was all GO CANADA on our part. (Thank you, Team Canada and Sidney Crosby, for letting Canada win gold and USA silver 3-2 in overtime. We may have lots of Americans on our Canadian teams, but we consider it Our Game.)

The unusual medals, a collaboration between artist Corrine Hunt and designer Omer Arbel. Each medal is unique; learn more by scrolling down to Medals here.

The crazy sports like ski cross that have athletes flinging themselves down steep slopes and runs with seemingly reckless abandon, although I know it’s only hard training that makes it look easy. And the snowboard races! And wild ski tricks!

CTV ran a great series called “How tough are these sports?” In it, various athletes tried a different sport than usual to see just how difficult it really was. So figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier discovered working with speed skater Denny Morrison that the skates and the method used for speed skating are quite different. Ditto for hockey player Georges Laraque, who had fun with short track skater Olivier Jean learning that racing isn’t as easy as it looks; and hockey player Wendel Clark, who strapped himself in to play sledge hockey with the Canadian Sledge Hockey team.

CTV ran another great series called “Difference Makers,” hosted by Rick Hansen, himself a difference maker. Hansen is the “Man in Motion” who pushed his wheelchair through 34 countries in 1985, raising funds for spinal cord injury research and awareness of the potential of people with disabilities. The series pays tribute to the extraordinary people who have helped Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians overcome their personal and athletic challenges.

Norway’s men’s curling team and their crazy pants. I didn’t exactly love the Loudmouth pants themselves, originally made famous by golfer John Daly, but I sure did appreciate the sense of humour the team had wearing them.

Here are some of the things that don’t get a medal:

The use of “medal” as a verb, as in, “She’s expected to medal in this sport.” I think I also heard “to podium” as a verb. Ughhhh.

How it so often seems to be all about winning gold, and seldom is a silver or bronze medal won; instead, it’s “settled for.” I think any medal is a real achievement, especially when you look at timed sports where athletes set personal records and finish mere fractions of a second apart.

The “I believe in the power of you and I” line  in the stirring song, I Believe, sung by 16-year-old Nikki Yanofsky. Grammatically speaking (word nerd alert!), it should be “you and me,” since “of” is a preposition and takes an object, as pointed out by grammarian Joanne Buckley.

CTV’s official Olympic coverage site, which wanted to make me “upgrade my browser with the latest version of Microsoft Silverlight” to watch the Canadian gold medal performance of ice dancing, and any other videos on the site.

What did you like or not like about the Olympics?