If the official medal count race was an Olympic event, the United States would have taken the silver medal in Sochi.
It was a tight race throughout the 2014 Games, but host country Russia secured its spot as the winner when it swept the podium in the men’s 50-kilometer cross-country skiing marathon and took home the gold in four-man bobsled.
Russia took advantage of some home cooking and captured an impressive 33 medals, 13 of which were gold. The Americans won 28, and Norway, Canada and the Netherlands rounded out the rest of the top five with 26, 25 and 24 respectively.
Of course, the other way to look at the medal count is by how many golds a country won.
Russia paced that race as well with 13, Norway checked in with 11, Canada with 10 and the United States with nine.
Clearly, winning 28 medals is impressive for the United States. It was the most it has won in a Winter Olympics held outside of North America, and a number of young and promising athletes showed why the future is bright.
However, some of the marquee names, including Shaun White, Shani Davis and the NHL stars on the men’s hockey team did not take home a medal, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who are drawn to the Olympics by the notable superstars.
That shouldn’t take away from the other great performances though, including the dominance of Meryl Davis and Charlie White in the ice dancing competition or the multiple medals won by Steven Holcomb in bobsledding.
Plus, there were the gold medals in skiing collected by Ted Ligety and teenage-sensation Mikaela Shiffrin. Yahoo! Sports gave us a glimpse of Shiffrin atop the podium:
As for Ligety, he became the first American man to win the gold in the giant slalom, which wasn’t a guarantee despite his expertise in the discipline, as his father told Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post:
Olympics are very funny. In Torino, he certainly was not expected to do anything. That happens every Olympics. Guys come up. Even though he’s been skiing great ‘GS,’ you just never know what to expect in the Olympics because they’re just so different.
Another notable result at the Olympics outside of the American perspective was the dominance on the hockey rink by Canada.
The Canadians defended their dual golds from Vancouver in both men’s and women’s hockey, knocking out the United States in the process in each.
Elsewhere, Netherlands was virtually an indestructible force in the speedskating events, and Russia compensated for its disappointment in hockey with multiple golds in figure skating. Julia Lipnitskaia was brilliant in the team competition, and Adelina Sotnikova held off Yuna Kim in the ladies’ event.
Looking forward, who will emerge as the names to watch in the 2018 Olympics for the Americans becomes an intriguing question.
Shiffrin and Gracie Gold are the candidates that immediately come to mind, but past stars like Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn (who missed the 2014 Games due to injury) and Ligety are just some of the veterans who may not be back in South Korea.
However, much like Shiffrin in the 2014 Olympics, there are sure to be future medalists who emerge in the next four years.
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