Sochi Games Surprise
by The Milton Measure on Friday, February 21st, 2014
The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia have been quite the roller coaster ride for Team USA. The first week of competition has been full of surprise medals and unfortunate disappointments for the Americans (especially Shaun White, Lindsey Jacob-Ellis, and the entire speedskating team). However, Team USA has fared well overall, ranking first in total medal count with 25, and fourth in gold medals with 8. The US had an auspicious start to the Games, as snowboarder Sage Kotsenberg won the first ever gold in men’s slopestyle snowboard. Slopestyle, both skiing and snowboarding, has been USA’s strongest event, with Americans winning three out of the four golds, including a sweep of the podium in the men’s skiing event.
The US also had a few surprising performances, sliding in for the bronze in the women’s luge and silver in the women’s skeleton. Some longtime members of Team USA have made their way onto the podium, including three-time Olympian Julia Mancuso, who grabbed bronze in the women’s super-combined, and four-timer Kelly Clark, who won bronze in the halfpipe 12 years after taking gold in Salt Lake City. The US also managed to pull out a bronze in the team figure skating behind powerhouses Russia and Canada, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White defeated their Canadian rivals to clinch the first-ever US gold in ice dancing.
The US team has also experienced a few letdowns in Sochi, including alpine skier Bode Miller’s subpar performance in the men’s downhill, finishing far outside the medals after being considered one of the favorites to win gold in his fifth Olympics at age 36. Potentially the biggest disappointment of the Games so far was two-time defending gold medalist Shaun White finishing fourth in a controversial halfpipe competition. The gold went to Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland, who landed the legendary YOLO flip.
After kicking off with a malfunctioning snowflake in the opening ceremonies, these 2014 Olympics have had their share of bizarre moments. Viewers have been treated to cross-country skiers wearing shorts, a Russian curler eating a face full of ice, a tie for the gold in the women’s downhill, and a Swede with dreads who skied with a raw egg in his pocket while wearing clothes four sizes too big. All in all, the Sochi Olympics have been entertaining at every turn, and anyone who considers himself a sports fan should tune in.
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