TURIN -- Hockey had its lucky loonie, Canada's speed skaters have the Magic Maple Leaf.
A short time after Clara Hughes struck gold in the women's 5,000 yesterday, she was presented with a good-luck charm that was buried in the ice at the Oval Lingotto.
It turns out icemaker Mark Messer, a Canadian, had hidden a gold maple leaf at the finish line, hoping to duplicate the success of the lucky loonie made famous by the men's and women's hockey teams at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
"We dug it out of the ice -- I had no idea it was there," Hughes said.
Messer says he snuck into the venue here in the middle of the night to plant the maple leaf.
A Canadian icemaker also buried a pair of loonies at the curling venue in Pinerolo, Italy.