2014 Winter Olympics wrap-up

Callie Struby, Reporter

The 2014 Winter Olympics were full of emotion, sudden plot twists, injuries, and lots of heart, but then again when eighty-eight nations come together to compete for medals,  spectators should expect nothing less.

As the games began to come to a close, things seemed all wrapped up for the US but surprisingly enough the home team Russia came back to take the lead in the medal count. Over the course of the final three days of competition Russia increased their medal count from twenty-four to thirty-three, finishing with thirteen gold medals, eleven silver medals, and nine bronze medals. This left the US in second place with nine gold medals, seven silver medals, and twelve bronze medals for a final tally of twenty-eight medals. The US took home medals in alpine skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, ice hockey, luge, short track, skeleton and bobsleigh events.

But despite being defeated at the last second, Americans should not feel defeated. In fact the US had a lot of success this year. Let’s break down why you should feel proud of the USA’s performance in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

For starters American athletes became the first medalists ever for three of the twelve new events at this year’s Olympics. Jamie Anderson and Sage Kostenburg both became the first slopestyle snowboarding gold medalists in the history of the Olympics. Maddie Bowman and David Wise also made history as the first gold medalists in their event, the ski half-pipe. Devin Logan also took the first silver medal ever in slopestyle skiing. The biggest of these history making successes however was in the men’s slopestlye skiing event. US athletes Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, and Nick Goepper swept the event bringing home the first ever gold, silver, and bronze medals for the event.

Other gold medalists included Kaitlyn Farrington (women’s half-pipe snowboarding),Ted Ligety (men’s giant slalom alpine skiing), and Mikaela Shiffrin (women’s slalom alpine skiing). Shiffrin also made history as the youngest winner of the event in Olympic history at eighteen years old.

Another gold medal went to Meryl Davis and Charlie White who narrowly edged out Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in ice dancing. The couple defeated the 2010 Winter Olympic champions, with a performance that told the story of their seventeen years skating together.

The medals continued to roll in for US athletes. The US two-man bobsleigh team had the honor of snapping the sixty-two year losing streak in bobsledding. An American bobsledder had not won a medal since 1952 but this year Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton broke that streak and brought home a bronze medal for the US.

In addition not one American athlete tested positive for the use of performance enhancement drugs. While athletes from Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Latvia, Austria, and Sweden were sent home after testing positive for various banned substances, American athletes remained clean and ready to compete.

Beyond just the athletics, Americans stepped up and led the way in an effort to help Sochi’s stray dogs. Sochi seems to have a large population of stray dogs that was brought into the light during this year’s Olympics. The treatment of Sochi’s strays was called into question this year and in response American athletes, starting with skier Gus Kenworthy began to adopt the strays and bring them home to America. Others followed Kenworthy’s example including snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis and US hockey players Kevin Shattenkirk and David Backes. Many of the athletes even joined Athletes for Animals in its fight to increase respect for all animals.

So whether you choose to praise the US athletes for their often history-making performances or their charitable spirit, wither way we as Americans have a lot to be proud of following the 2014 Winter Olympics.