The United States may have set a record for number of participants sent to the Winter Games in Sochi, but it can be said that the overall results were not as satisfying.
Americans brought home 28 medals from the 2014 Winter Olympics, five behind Russia for the overall lead. While second place may be successful for some countries, it was far from what the US expected heading into the Games.
The overall medal count was strong, but when looking at the numbers individually, some interesting stats emerge. For example, of the 28 medals Americans won in Sochi, nine were in events that were making their Olympic debut: six in slopestyle skiing and snowboarding; two in halfpipe skiing; and one in team figure skating.
Here is a breakdown of where the US’s medals came from at the 2014 Winter Games.
Had these events not been added to the Olympics lineup this year, these Olympics would have gone down as the lowest medal count since the US brought home 13 from Nagano, Japan, in 1998, a far cry from Vancouver 2010, where the US topped the medal stand with 37.
Success in “traditional” Winter Olympics sports was more scarce for the US than usual. Two noticeable areas were in speed skating and figure skating, as the Americans were completely shut out in speed skating for the first time since 1984, while the figure skaters accounted for just one medal in the sport’s four disciplines, their poorest showing since 1994.
An area the US has gained momentum over the past few Olympics are in “X Games” style sports, where big air and stunning tricks reign supreme. “X Games” sports at the Olympics encompass more modern events that focus on extreme displays shown by athletes on the course, but are not necessarily limited to just events that are a part of X Games competition. Here is a look at how the US medal count in those events compared to “traditional” Winter Olympics sports.
The US has seen a greater rise in participation among these “X Games” sports over the past decade, with more young athletes choosing to pursue them over the traditional sports.