Posted: 3:44 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
By Travis Hughes
Sochi was the center of the sports universe for two weeks. Now that the Olympics are over, let's look back at the most unforgettable moments of the 2014 Winter Games.
On the first two days of the Olympics, the USA won gold in men's and women's slopestyle. MAN THESE GAMES ARE GONNA BE GREAT!
Nope. Here's a list of prominent Americans who didn't fulfill expectations in Sochi. (It may be incomplete!)
Excluding individual sports that have a team component -- like, for example, speed skating relay races -- there are only two team sports at the Winter Olympics: curling and ice hockey.
Canada won gold in men's curling. They won gold in women's curling. They won gold in women's hockey. They won gold in men's hockey. Four for four.
It's a feat that's never happened at the Winter Olympics. Granted, curling was re-added to the Olympic program in 1998 after a 74 year absence, the same year women's hockey debuted in Nagano. There's not a ton of history here, but it's still an extremely impressive feat.
Not as impressive as their passport-only beer fridge, of course. But you know. Still impressive.
Shootouts are gimmicky crap in the National Hockey League, so maybe hockey fans didn't know just how good T.J. Oshie was in them. He certainly made it known in the USA's preliminary round game vs. Russia.
The men's hockey team wound up finishing a disappointing fourth in the tournament, so Oshie's shootout heroics against a big rival basically became the hockey story of these Olympics , at least on the men's side of things.
Canada thinks ice dancing was fixed to favor the Americans. Everybody seems to think that women's skating was fixed in favor of the Russians.
The problem, of course, is that nobody trusts figure skating results, basically regardless of the outcome. Is the result of the World Series in question every year? That's the equivalent, and it's a pretty big bummer for athletes who deserve better than to be doubted every time they win a major event.
The United States disappointed across the board in speed skating -- both short track and long track -- and Under Armour's fancy suits may have had something to do with it. But it doesn't really matter: nobody could beat the Dutch.
In men's long track individual events, the Netherlands won an incredible 12 of 15 total medals awarded in Sochi. They also won gold in the team pursuit. In women's long track, they won 9 of 15 medals plus the team pursuit gold.
Overall, 23 of the 36 medals awarded in long track speed skating went to the Netherlands. (As a whole, the nation won 24 medals in Sochi.) It was a historic level of dominance.
When bored reporters descended upon Sochi prior to the start of the Games, all the talk was about stray dogs and missing shower curtains and spying in the showers and OMG THESE GAMES ARE GONNA BE A NIGHTMARE. We called them the #FlawlessOlympics, poking fun at just how flawed Sochi's $51 billion Olympics were going to be. @SochiProblems on Twitter has 331,000 followers.
Two weeks later, not a word. The focus thankfully turned to the actual athletic events on the rinks, slopes and slides. But really, the 2014 Winter Olympics went off without a dang hitch. The Russians even had enough confidence to poke fun at their Opening Ceremony Olympic Ring failure at the Closing Ceremony on Sunday.
Most importantly, the threats of terrorism that surrounded the Sochi Olympics have basically disappeared. Terrorism and security worries at the Olympics went on the back burner as soon as the events began, just as we hoped they would. Put simply, the Russians handled their business ... just like they assured us they would.