Olympic 2014 Medal Count: Biggest Takeaways from Final Tally

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Olympic 2014 Medal Count: Biggest Takeaways from Final Tally
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Russia won in Russia. 

Four years after leaving Vancouver with just three golds and 15 overall medals, the Russians upped their game on their home turf, nabbing 13 golds and 33 overall medals in Sochi. 

Both numbers led all nations, as Norway and Canada weren't far behind in the gold count, while the United States finished second in total hardware.

Here's a final look at the 2014 medal count, along with some observations from Sochi. 

 

Netherlands Owns Speedskating

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

There were 36 total medals handed out in speedskating. Twenty-threeor 64 percentof those went to the Netherlands. 

That means, on average, the Dutch—who tallied four podium sweeps—were very close to having two athletes on the podium for every single event

Some countries controlled other sports, but there was nothing even close to this pure and utter domination, and afterwards, Gerard Dielessen, secretary general of the Dutch Olympic committee, basically said "hey, everyone else, try to get on our level next time," via USA Today's Paul Myerberg:

And we want to dominate that sport. So the distance we have now between (Netherlands) and the other countries, we are proud of that. It's a challenge for us to keep the distance. It's (expletive) to say that we are ashamed of us for winning such a lot of medals. It is ridiculous.

What we say to the other countries, well, they failed. They have to train harder.

No matter what way you slice it, this was an impressive achievement of dominance in one sport. And something we'll probably never see again. 

 

Who Owns the Other Sports?

There were a total of 15 sports at the 2014 Winter Games. Here's a look at what countries came out on top in each one—both in terms of golds and total medals:

2014 Olympic Medal Count by Sport
Sport Medals Awarded Most Gold Medals Gold Count Most Total Medals Total Count
Alpine Skiing 31 Austria 3 Austria 9
Biathlon 33 Norway/Belarus 3 Norway 6
Bobsleigh 9 Russia 2 USA 4
Cross-Country 36 Norway 5 Norway/Sweden 11
Curling 6 Canada 2 Canada/Great Britain/Sweden 2
Figure Skating 15 Russia 3 Russia 5
Freestyle Skiing 30 Canada 4 Canada 9
Ice Hockey 6 Canada 2 Canada 2
Luge 12 Germany 4 Germany 5
Nordic Combined 9 Norway 2 Norway 4
Short Track 24 Russia 3 China 6
Skeleton 6 Russia/Great Britain 1 Russia/USA 2
Ski Jumping 12 Germany/Poland 2 5 Countries Tied 2
Snowboarding 30 USA 3 USA 5
Speed Skating 36 Netherlands 8 Netherlands 23

Sochi2014.com

The closest any country came to Netherlands' 23 in speedskating was Norway and Sweden, which both grabbed 11 medals in cross-country skiing. Norway's dominance on the skis was especially evident, as the small European country also led all countries with medals in the biathlon (six) and Nordic combined (four). 

Furthermore, all but one—Staale Sandbech won silver in men's snowboard slopestyleof Norway's 26 medals involved a sport with skis.

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

In terms of range of "owning" a sport, there may not have been a country as impressive as Canada, which not only won nine medals in freestyle skiing but swept all four golds in both curling and hockey. 

From extreme sports to curling, that's some tremendous versatility, and after leading the 2010 Olympics with 14 golds, the Canadians proved in Sochi that wasn't just a "host nation" type of fluke. 

 

Ireen Wust Leads the Individual Count

Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

No surprise here, as the country that sent just 41 athletes to Sochi yet returned 24 medals also has the individual with the most hardware around her neck. 

Ireen Wust, the 27-year-old speedksater who had previously won three Olympic medals (two golds), participated in five events in Sochi.

And won five medals. 

After winning gold in the 3,000-meter race, she took silver in the 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters before helping set an Olympic record in the team pursuit for another gold. 

Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch summed up the performance from a historical perspective:

In terms of most gold medals, Russia's Victor An (short track), Norway's Marit Bjoergen (cross-country) and Belarus' Darya Domracheva (biathlon) tied with three. 

Each comes with an interesting story. 

An, who was born in Seoul, failed to make the South Korean Olympic team in 2010 before moving to Russia, establishing citizenship and cleaning up for the host nation with four total medals. 

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

Bjoergen, after tallying three more golds, established herself as the most decorated female Winter Olympian ever, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out:

Finally, we have Domracheva. Not only did she single-handedly triple Belarus' all-time Winter Games gold-medal tally, but she also set a record in the process, per AP Sports:

Of course, we can't end the individual awards without giving an honorable mention to Russian Maxim Vylegzhanin. The cross-country skier won three silvers and lost two of his races by a combined 1.67 seconds. Three medals is undoubtedly nice, but that has to be a little bittersweet. 

 

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