After over two weeks of thrilling action in Sochi, the 2014 Winter Olympics are officially over. It's hard to believe that the Games have come to a close, but the results were certainly special for the host country of Russia.
The Russians came away with a total of 33 medals (far and away the most), with Team USA coming in second with 28 medals in its collection. After controlling the final days of the Olympics, the hosts made themselves comfortable in the final day with half of the medals handed out being won by Russians.
Team USA came up short in its attempt at winning the medal tally but came away with several historic results in a plethora of events. Many athletes like Shaun White and Shani Davis came away with no medals, but others, like Mikaela Shiffrin and Sage Kotsenburg, took their place with surprising results.
Here is a look at the final medal count following the last day of the Olympics:
In the theoretical bronze-medal finish in the medal tally, Norway—which leads the all-time medal count for the Winter Olympics—came away with 26 total medals, 11 of which were gold.
With the Sochi Games finally coming to a close, here is a look at some of the most memorable events that shaped the final medal tally.
Netherlands' Domination in Speedskating
There was no other country in the Olympics that controlled one sport as much as the Dutch ruled the ice in speedskating.
Of the 24 Olympic medals that the Dutch won, 23 pieces of hardware came in speedskating, with many of them coming in in the long-track speedskating portion.
With a total of eight gold medals, seven silver medals and eight bronze medals, the Netherlands speedskating team single-handedly put the country in the top five of the Olympics medal tally.
Thanks to the likes of Ireen Wust, who won five total medals, and Sven Kramer, who took home three (both winning two gold medals), the Netherlands has a dominance over the sport that could continue on for years following these Winter Olympics.
Team USA Controls Multiple Skiing Disciplines
The U.S. didn't put the clamps down on one single sport quite like the Netherlands did with speedskating—it actually had a very disappointing showing in the sport—but skiing on the slopes, slopestyle and halfpipe resulted in several medals for Team USA's final collection.
In the slopestyle events, the men swept the event with Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper all standing on the podium. In the women's portion, Devin Logan wasn't able to capture the gold but came away with a fourth medal in the event after taking the silver.
As for the halfpipe, Maddie Bowman made her presence felt with a gold medal, after David Wise topped the podium with his own gold-medal run on the men's side.
Wise's win also set up a special moment shared with his daughter who wasn't able to be at the event, as the Today Show's official Instagram account shared:
In the Alpine skiing events, Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin both took home their own golds and became heroes in their own respect.
While Ligety won his second gold medal in 2014, Shiffrin got her career started in Sochi, standing in the middle of the stage in just her second event in the Games.
Shiffrin spoke about the win and her plans for 2018 in South Korea, according to Paul Myerberg of USA Today:
I'm still young and I still have a lot of strength to gain over the next few summers of conditioning and the next few winters of skiing. I don't want to push myself too far too fast and definitely don't get greedy, but at the same time, I'm a dreamer.
So right now I'm dreaming of the next Olympics, winning five gold medals. Which sounds really crazy. Sorry I just admitted that to you all.
Shiffrin is young, bold and clearly a confident skier coming out of her first Olympics. But is it absurd to think that she could come away with five gold medals in 2018?
The 18-year-old burst onto the scene long before the Olympics with a win in the 2013 World Championships, taking a gold medal in the slalom event—the same discipline that she won in Sochi. If Shiffrin plans to take home five medals in four years, she'll need to begin dominating other events as well.
It will be interesting to watch the young star master other competitions on her way to working toward her lofty goal in the Pyeongchang Games.
Canadian Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Repeat
While there were several triumphs on the Olympic stage for the U.S., it came up short not once, not twice, but three times to the Canadians.
But it appeared to be a result that was destined to happen, as Team Canada came out atop the podium in both brackets to earn back-to-back golds in men's and women's hockey.
Neither team lost throughout the tournament, with the men making history by accomplishing a feat that hasn't been done in three decades, according to R.J. Bell of Pregame.com:
Retired Canadian hockey player Steve Yzerman gave his thoughts on the run to Olympic gold, per Dan Rosen of NHL.com:
That defensive style led to two straight shutouts over both the U.S. and Sweden by a final count of 4-0 in the semifinal and finals. The defensive effort was rewarded by Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby, who both scored goals in the final against the Swedes.
On the women's side, it was business as usual with Team Canada claiming its fourth straight gold medal after defeating the Americans in a crushing final.
The U.S. had a controlling 2-0 lead late in the third period but couldn't stop an onslaught of shots from the Canadians and hit the bar on an empty-netter from the blue line to allow Canada to clinch the gold. Julie Chu of Team USA spoke about the disappointing loss, per Bill Chappell of NPR:
If you know any one of us, it's not that there's not an appreciation of representing our country, being a part of the greatest sporting event in the world, getting a chance to win a silver medal. That's never something that we're not proud of.
But we also wear our hearts on our sleeve, so if it's going to take us five minutes to say that we wanted to win a gold medal, and against our biggest rival. And we didn't do that. It's going to take us maybe a few minutes to regroup, and have time to digest it all.
Despite the fact that both the U.S. men's and women's teams lost in hockey, they still come away as top contenders in the sport and have another chance to medal in 2018.
As for the Canadians, a third-straight win in Pyeongchang could mark a historic run by both teams to repeat. With the Canadians still having many of the top players in the world in both men's and women's hockey, it might be yet another one-sided affair on the ice when both teams take the ice in South Korea.
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