The 2014 Winter Olympics have come to a close. Russia was an outstanding host for the games, and it shined brightest of all the countries involved in the medal count.
The hosts bested the United States by five total medals on the final leaderboard. Russia also had the most gold and silver medals of any country.
Here's a look at the final tally for all nations, per NBCOlympics.com.
|2||United States of America||9||7||12||28|
Biggest Individual Standouts
Darya Domracheva - Belarusia
The 27-year-old Belarusian was the only athlete to win three individual gold medals in Sochi. She was flat-out dominant in the biathlon events. She earned the top podium spot in pursuit, individual and mass start.
There were several stars of the Sochi Games, but none was bigger than Domracheva. The Deutsche Welle called her "the greatest Belarusian athlete ever."
You don't have to be an athlete to recognize Domracheva's greatness and accomplishments. Famed Norwegian violinist Alexander Rybak tweeted this compliment Domracheva's way:
Ireen Wust - Netherlands
Domracheva may have grabbed the most individual gold medals, but Wust's overall medal haul would make anyone blush. In Sochi, the Dutch speedskater raked in a total of five medals.
She won gold in the 3,000 meters and in the team pursuit. She took home three silver medals as well (1,000, 1,500 and 5,000 meter). Without a doubt, Wust solidified herself as one of the greatest long-track speedskaters in the history of the sport.
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated talks about the history Wust made in Sochi:
Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust won five medals in Sochi -- the 10th Winter Games athlete and fifth speedskater to win five at a single Games.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 22, 2014
Wust captured this snapshot of the closing ceremony. It's clear from her tweet she'll remember her time in Sochi fondly.
Viktor Ahn - Russia
After the Sochi Games, there is no doubt who the King of the Short Track is. Ahn won a total of four medals for his home country.
He took the gold medal in the 500 and 1,000 meters. He helped guide the Russian team to the top podium spot in the 5,000-meter relay and he won the bronze in the 1,500 meters.
His Olympic medal total is now at eight in his illustrious career.
Olympic researcher Alex Goldberger didn't just laud Ahn's accomplishments as a short-track speedskater. He gives him even higher praise for his career accomplishments.
Not only is Viktor Ahn the greatest short track speed skater ever, he's one of the greatest Winter Olympians ever— Alex Goldberger (@alexgoldberger) February 22, 2014
Marit Bjoergen - Norway
Speaking of the greatest Winter Olympics athletes of all-time, Bjoergen deserves to be put in that category after her performance in Sochi.
She is arguably the greatest cross-country skier in history, and she certainly has the hardware to back up that concept. She won three more gold medals to give her six in her career. Bjoergen has won a total of 10 Olympic medals in all.
"Four years is a long time, and I’m not getting younger. I’m also thinking about having a family. I don’t want to do this at 90 percent."
Led by Wust and Sven Kramer, the Dutch took home the gold medal in both the men's and women's team events.
In fact, the Dutch skaters won gold in eight of the 12 speed skating events and 23 of 36 possible medals overall in the sport.
If that's not dominance, nothing is.
The Germans owned the world in the luge events.
German athletes took gold in all four of the sport's Olympic events. Natalie Geisenberger, Tobias Wendl, Tobias Arlt and Felix Loch all won two gold medals, and Tatjana Hufner won a silver in women's singles.
Coming in second in the overall medal count was a bit disappointing for the United States, but the most painful failure for Americans had to be the flop in hockey.
Both the men and women fell short of the gold, but the women managed to win the silver. The men finished off the podium after being outscored 6-0 in their final two games.
The major foil for both the American men and women was the Canadian team. The Canadian men and women went on to win gold to prove it is still their game.
The Canadians were equally as dominant in curling. The men and women took the top podium spots. The men put on a particularly dominating performance to take the gold from Great Britain in a 9-3 rout.
Along with spirited and competitive action, the sport gave us some of the most awesome facial expressions of the Sochi Games as well.
Looking Ahead to 2018 Games
Pyeongchang, South Korea is the site for the next Winter Games. Hopefully, the South Koreans will put on as great of a show as Russia did for the athletes in 2014. Here's a look at Olympians who have an opportunity to really shine in South Korea.
The 15-year-old Russian immediately took the spotlight during the early team figure skating competitions, but ultimately she finished fifth in individual standings.
At such a young age, Lipnitskaia has already proven that she's capable of competing with world-class opponents. When the 2018 Games roll around, she'll be more mature, experienced and still just 19 years old.
If the U.S. had one shining star from Sochi, it would probably be Shiffrin. The 18-year-old Alpine skier won gold in the slalom and has positioned herself to take the torch from long-time fan favorite and star, Lindsey Vonn.
Because she's experienced success at such a young age, she too is in position to break out even more in 2018.
Park can be to the 2018 Games what Ahn was to the Sochi Games. True enough, Ahn is of South Korean decent, but he has adopted Russia as his home country.
Park is South Korean and still performs for her country as one of the world's best short-track speedskaters. In Sochi, she won two gold medals and a bronze. As a 17-year-old at the 2010 Vancouver Games, Park won two bronze medals.
At her current pace, the 21-year-old will still be young enough in 2018 to continue her improvement and possibly become the biggest star of the Pyeongchang Games in her home country.