With the 2014 Winter Olympics concluded, Team USA has had their share of victories and defeats. The American speed skaters flopped and the hockey teams choked when it most mattered. However, a group of relatively young athletes managed to carry Team USA to one of the top places at the Sochi Olympics, and the country could not be prouder.
The United States has received 28 medals (nine medals less than their record-setting count at Vancouver, four years ago) in the Olympic games putting them in second place right behind host country, Russia. Canada and Norway both won more gold medals than the United States, with Canada winning more gold that the Americans for two games in a row. Although, the United States managed to secure more medals overall.
Perhaps one of the major factors that played a part in this is the number of Americans Olympians that have been injured this year, including famous snowboarder Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn. Tragically, the U.S. speedskating team has been forced off the podium for the first time in 30 years.
One speedskater, Shani Davis, described in an interview with ESPN that it as the “worst Olympics ever.”
Things weren’t much better for the figure skaters, who won bronze as a team but were shut out individually.
However, despite these tribulations, a new star has risen: teen skiing sensation Mikeala Shiffrin became the youngest gold winner in the women’s slalom, and is already planning to break records at the next winter olympics in South Korea. The U.S. men’s snowboarders, Shiffren and Ted Ligety, both won gold and the US took five gold medals overall.
“However, with the new and more competitive environment, replicating the success of previous Olympic games may be difficult,” said the former chief of sports performance for the US Olympic Committee Steve Roush in an ESPN interview. “The rest of the world is catching up.”
But with the promising new athletes and strong performances in new areas like the halfpipe, Team USA is looking forward to the 2018 games in South Korea where they hope to be more driven in an environment where more countries are becoming competitive about the Winter Olympics.