SOCHI, Russia (AP) — From talking trash to one of America's biggest Olympic stars to boldly proclaiming they plan to win more medals than any other nation, Team Canada has taken the gold medal for confidence at the Sochi Games.
Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut says he has no regrets about saying his team plans to be on the podium every day of these Winter Games.
"Canada is here to compete and win," Aubut says. "This is an ambitious goal, but we Canadians like it this way."
The Canadians swagger into Sochi buoyed by winning 14 gold medals on their home turf at the Vancouver Games in 2010. They finished first in gold medals and third in total medals in those games, and they expect to improve on that this time around.
They haven't stopped there. After United States snowboarding star Shaun White pulled out of the slopestyle event in part because of the risk of injury on the demanding Sochi course, Canadian rivals Sebastien Toutant and Max Parrot brazenly suggested on Twitter that the real reason White pulled out was because he couldn't win.
If the discourse wasn't exactly in the Olympic spirit, Canadian chef de mission Steve Podborski doesn't seem too concerned.
"Is it something that we would endorse? No," Podborski says. "Is it something that happens in this world? Yes. But you know, they're big boys and I think they are going to be fine at the end of the day."
— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu