By: Robert Jamieson ~Staff Writer~
The 2014 Winter Olympics have come to a close. We said hello to many athletes that will be competing for years to come and goodbye to many more who were participating in their last Olympics.
We were mesmerized by the grace and beauty of the figure skaters and ice dancers, entertained by the oddity of the biathlon and curling, thrilled by the speed and insanity of the skeleton and luge and united by the efforts of the men’s and women’s hockey teams.
We celebrated with the athletes in their victories and mourned with them in their defeats. For three weeks we celebrated the beauty of sport with the rest of the world. It was another successful Olympic season for the United States. Finishing second to Russia in the overall medal count and fourth in the gold medal count, the U.S. athletes did not disappoint.
Even though the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey teams fell just short of expectations, their success in promoting the great sport of hockey holds much more weight than any gold medal does. Canada again stole the show in hockey and curling, sweeping the gold in both men’s and women’s curling.
The United States’ most successful events came on the slopes. Of the United States’ 28 medals, 17 of them were in either skiing or snowboarding. Apart from winning the medal count, the highlight of the Olympics for the Russians came in women’s figure skating. Although it came with a considerable amount of controversy, Russian teenager Adelina Sotnikova gave the host country its first ever gold in the event.
Just as we all have our own unique and sometimes quirky reasons for why we watch the Olympics, we also leave with our own favorite memories. Some of these have to do with the games and some do not.
Some people will remember these Olympics for the athletes’ performances, and some will remember them for the performances of Bob Costas’ eyes. I will remember this year’s Olympics for when I finally (kind of) understood curling, for when the U.S men’s hockey team became a serious contender and for when I realized ice dancing is awesome.
What I will remember most about these Olympic games in particular is that the Olympic medal count is irrelevant.
Many of us look to the medal count to find out who won the Olympics. I am sorry to tell you that one country cannot win the Olympics. Why? Because above all, the Olympics are a celebration: a celebration of our athletes representing our hometowns, home states and home countries.
The Olympics have the rare ability to give us a remedy that cures social tension, unites nations and crosses barriers that have been otherwise not crossable. The Olympics give us hope.
Going into the Olympics, we heard little about the actual games. We heard about the safety concerns and social unrest. We heard about protests and possible boycotts. We heard about Russia being unprepared and unfit to host the Olympics.
Once the games started, however, all of these conversations changed. Instead of talking about political unrest we talked about how Johnny Weir dressed. Instead of talking about Sochi’s problems we talked about the Sochi games. Every country participating wins the Olympics. Winning a medal is just a souvenir to take home to mom.