The 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close on Sunday, as the final three events of the competition reached their conclusions.
It was a tight race for the overall medal count throughout the Games in Sochi. Multiple countries were in contention to earn the top spot; however, only one could emerge victorious.
In 2014, that country was Russia.
The Olympic hosts rallied during the final two days of the Winter Games to overtake the United States for the overall medal lead. This is how the final standings look:
With 33 medals—including 13 golds—Russia earned decisive victories in both counts. According to Chris Chase of USA Today, this is the first time that the host nation won both the overall and the gold-medal counts since Norway in 1952.
Now that the 2014 Olympics are in the books, let's take a closer look at how the top countries fared during the Winter Games.
|Russia's Overall Medal Count|
With so much talent across the board in the figure skating events, Russia emerged as the most dominant country in the sport with three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze.
The country started strong, earning its first gold medal in the team figure skating event, but did not let up from there. Russia took the gold and silver medals in the pairs figure skating discipline, bronze in the ice dance and another surprising gold after a dazzling performance by Adelina Sotnikova in the ladies' individual event.
Russia also excelled in short-track speedskating, wining three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze, as well as the fascinating skeleton event, earning one gold medal and one bronze medal.
The Russians closed out the 2014 Olympics in style on Sunday, earning a gold medal in the four-man bobsled event and sweeping the podium in the men's cross-country 50-kilometer mass start.
|United States' Overall Medal Count|
It was an up-and-down Olympics for the United States. Certain American athletes expected to reach the podium in Sochi didn't quite come through—notably Shaun White, Shani Davis and the men's ice hockey team. However, we were delighted by a few nice surprises along the way.
Early in the Olympics, Team USA rallied during the team figure skating event, earning the bronze medal. The ice dancing duo of Meryl Davis and Charlie White were absolutely stunning. They continued their dominance in the individual ice dancing event, taking home the gold medal.
As per usual, the United States dominated the snowboarding events, earning three gold medals and two bronze medals in Sochi.
Mikaela Shiffrin was a revelation for the Americans. After finishing fifth in the women's giant slalom, she rebounded in a big way and took the gold medal in decisive fashion in the women's slalom. The 18-year-old phenom is just getting started on what looks to be a very promising career.
After earning her gold medal, she described a feeling that many American Olympians in Sochi could identify with during an interview with Bill Pennington of The New York Times. Said Shiffrin, "You can create your own miracle. But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way."
Many American athletes did exactly that and can look back on the 2014 Winter Games with fondness.
|Norway's Overall Medal Count|
Despite earning the third-most medals in the Olympic Games, Norway came away with an impressive 11 gold medals, the second most of any country and trailing Russia by just two.
Norway was able to hang its hat on some incredibly talented skiers in Sochi, as the country dominated several sports.
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most decorated Winter Olympian in history this year. He earned gold medals in the biathlon men's sprint and biathlon mixed relay. Those two medals gave him a total of 13, surpassing fellow countryman Bjorn Daehlie for the most of all time.
Norway won a total of three gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in the biathlon events.
However, that was not the only sport on skis that the Norwegians controlled. The country was fantastic in cross-country skiing, tallying a total of five gold medals, two silver medals and four bronze medals in the sport.
They also found success in the Nordic combined, earning two gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal.
The Canadians earned an impressive medal total in Sochi. Finishing fourth overall with 25, Canada made its trips to the podium count, clinching 10 gold medals, 10 silver medals and five bronze medals.
Canada dominated curling and ice hockey, winning gold medals in both the men's and women's events. The country also found a great amount of success in freestyle skiing, tallying four gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal.
The Dutch finished in fifth position with a total of 24 Olympic medals. In one of the most impressive showings of any sport in Sochi, the Netherlands took full control of speedskating. Of the team's 24 medals, 23 came from its prowess on the ice.
With a total of eight gold medals, seven silver medals and eight bronze medals and multiple Olympic records, the small Netherlands team put on a fantastic showing.