Olympic 2014 Results: Recapping the Most Defining Moments from Sochi

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2014

Olympic 2014 Results: Recapping the Most Defining Moments from Sochi

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi are over, but that doesn't mean we can't relive the fun.

    Plenty of memorable triumphs, failures and funny moments littered the Games. Here, we recap the incidents many will remember for years to come. From failing rings to historic firsts, let's wade through everything Russia's showpiece had to offer.

Olympic Ring Failure at the Opening Ceremony

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    Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

    The Winter Olympics' opening ceremony is watched all around the world. It's a pretty bad time to mess up.

    If a dancer mistimes their step, it won't be noticed. If a couple of fireworks fail to launch, you can get away with it. If one of the Olympic rings fails to light up, the whole world will have a chuckle.

    That's exactly what happened during Sochi's grand welcome. The Games were launched with a botched version of its most iconic symbol, but we're not sure anybody picked up on it.

Shaun White Leaves Without a Medal

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Shaun White is a veteran of the Winter Olympics and was expected to clean up during his third appearance at the Games.

    The American snowboarding legend began to show signs of discontent when he withdrew from the men's slopestyle competition, reported by Rachel Axon of USA Today. He aimed to put all of his eggs in a halfpipe-shaped basket, but as we quickly learned, White would be usurped from the sport's throne.

    Iouri Podladtchikov, known by his nickname of "iPod," completed a majestic run to capture gold. Unfortunately for White, a poor opening run in the final left him chasing the prize for the first time in his career.

    Olympic glory and failure is defined by moments, and as White found out, landing your board directly on the lip of the halfpipe will only lead to regret.

Lizzy Yarnold Track Record and Gold for Great Britain in the Skeleton

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Elizabeth Yarnold was largely unknown outside of the skeleton world before the Winter Games, even in Great Britain.

    That all changed with an excellent performance in the women's event, which saw her smash the Sochi track record during the third heat. Although Yarnold nearly made a mess of it in the last run, she held her composure to land the island's sole gold medal of the games.

    When you consider she only took up the sport after watching Amy Williams do the same in Vancouver 2010, that's a pretty impressive return.

Dutch Speedskaters Win 23 Medals, Completing Four Podium Clean Sweeps

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    It's safe to say the Netherlands dominated across the speedskating board in Russia. Team Orange completed a tremendous run of 23 medals in the sport, topping the entire podium four times and making everybody else look rather shoddy in the process.

    Let's put that number into perspective. Speedskating success made up 95.8 percent of 24 medals won for the nation, while only four countries finished with a higher overall medal count than 23.

    Ireen Wust was the standout performer, winning five medals, including two gold and three silver. She would come in above 18th on the medal table by herself, signalling the type of dominance that defines an era.

Canada Women's Tremendous Ice Hockey Gold Medal Win over USA

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Canadian hockey success, both in the women's and men's sections, summed up a terrific Olympics for the North Americans.

    Undoubtedly the highlight came in the ladies' final, which saw Canada overturn a 2-0 deficit to eventually snatch the game in sudden-death overtime against their bitter rivals from the USA. Marie-Philip Poulin grabbed the vital score in a match that will be forever remembered for breaking American hearts once again.

    The contrasting reactions, as pictured above, said it all.

Evgeni Plushenko Withdraws from Competition, Retires with Immediate Effect

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Evgeni Plushenko was the darling of Russia heading into his home Games, but things couldn't have gone worse for "the only modern-era figure skater to win medals in four Olympics," reported by the Associated Press and via ESPN.

    Despite helping his team win gold in Sochi, a heavy fall from a triple axel left the star struggling with a back problem. A second failed move saw him chat with coach Alexei Mishin, before he headed over to the referee and pulled himself out of the competition.

    Plushenko retired from the sport directly afterwards, signalling the end of an era for Russian sport.

Women's Ski Jumping Makes a Historic Debut

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Some victories were confirmed well before the 2014 Winter Olympics got underway.

    While men's ski jumping had frequented the Games since 1924, women never had the chance to compete on the biggest stage of all before the Sochi event.

    USA's Sarah Hendrickson was the first to take flight at the discipline's debut showing, but Germany's Carina Vogt will be remembered for capturing the initial prize.

Mikaela Shiffrin Becomes Youngest Ever Alpine Gold Medallist at 18 Years Old

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    Gero Breloer/Associated Press

    Mikaela Shiffrin's final run down the Rosa Khotur course was by no means perfect. The American teenager was forced to correct a major mistake in the women's slalom event, but she did so brilliantly.

    In fact, the American teenager became the youngest ever gold medal winner in the event after she finished 0.53 seconds faster than Marlies Schild. The winner was unsure if she would make it through, as reported by the Associated Press and via Yahoo! Eurosport:

    There I was, I'm like, 'Grrreat. I'm just going to go win my first medal.' And then in the middle of the run, I'm like, 'Guess not. So like, 'No. Don't do that. Do not give up. You see this through.' My whole goal was to just keep my skis moving.

    Luckily for Shiffrin, she goes down as one of Team USA's biggest successes in a disappointing performance across the snow for the likes of Bode Miller, Shaun White and Kelly Clark.

Matthias Mayer Wins Blue Riband Event

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Matthias Mayer has never captured a World Cup title, but that didn't stop the Austrian speeding to victory in the men's downhill race.

    The 23-year-old was competing in his first Olympics, but effortlessly beat the likes of Miller, Aksel Lund Svindal and Christof Innerhoffer to take the plaudits. Mayer's performance was effortless and he appeared to excel under a lack of pressure, which can't be said for his opponents.

    Although the European's name was perhaps obscure before the Games, all eyes will be on Mayer the next time he steps into competition.

American-Born Vic Wild Wins Two Gold Medals for Russia

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    Nathan Bilow-USA TODAY Sports

    Vic Wild was irritated by the lack of funding for snowboarding in the US, so he moved to Russia to pursue his dreams in 2001, as reported by the Daily Mail.

    Now representing his adopted nation, Wild couldn't have imagined a greater way to claim two gold medals on the world stage. His double-victory in the parallel slalom events—which came alongside
    Alena Zavarzina, his wife, winning bronze—acted as the culmination of a long journey for the determined star.

    It also aided Russia's quest to topple USA in the overall stakes, providing a moment of regret for the nation Wild could have represented.

Alexander Legkov Leads Russian Clean Sweep in 50km Cross Country

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    Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

    Russia are always an Olympic force, but the nation couldn't have asked for a better conclusion to their own Games than a clean sweep in the men's 50 kilometre cross country skiing.

    Alexander Legkov finished top of the pile on a gruelling course, but excellently for the hosts, he was just 0.7 seconds faster than compatriot Maxim Vylegzhanin, per BBC Sport.

    The locals completed a hat-trick when Ilia Chernousov made it home in the bronze medal position, a memorable result that ensured Russia would finish top of the medal table. As Legkov's reaction showed upon receiving his reward, there's nothing quite like winning at home.

Alexander Zubkov Secures His Second Gold with Victory in Four-Man Bobsleigh

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    Andrew P. Scott-USA TODAY Sports

    Alexander Zubkov was the man pressured into driving Russia's bobsleigh hopes home, but he couldn't have foreseen becoming the first man to win his two events on home soil, reported by the Associated Press and via Yahoo! Eurosport.

    Zubkov, fresh from winning the two-man race earlier in the Games, helped Russia end on a real high with a powerful performance in the four-man section.

    Latvia's Oskars Melbardis and USA's Steven Holcomb were outlined as gold medal favourites by many, but as with many Russian performances, Zubkov seemed inspired by the local support.

Victor An Becomes Most Successful Short-Track Speedskater Ever

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    Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

    Sick of Russian success yet? Victor An can't hear you.

    The short-track speedskater became the sport's most prolific gold medal winner ever with yet another majestic performance in Sochi, per BBC Sport. His victories in the 1000 metres, 500 metres and relay pushed him to eight overall medals across his career.

    An is also the first person to win gold in each of the four short-track events, making him the most decorated Olympian in his sport.

Olympic Ring Mishap Humorously Remembered at the Closing Ceremony

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    When you've made a mistake, the best thing to do is make fun of yourself.

    Russia did exactly that during the closing ceremony, which saw a large number of dancers form the Olympic rings. Just like the right-hand side failing to light up during the Games' welcome, a group of dancers huddled together to ensure the same ring wasn't seen at the end of the two weeks' action.

    This was undoubtedly a neat touch, and at the culmination of a busy schedule, a reminder that humour can often infiltrate the seriousness of sport.