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2014 Winter Olympics Wrap-Up in Sochi

After two weeks of excitement, the 2014 Winter Olympics finally came to a close on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. The second and final week of the games revealed the athletic might of each country, shown through the many hard-fought competitions, wins, and disappointments. Although many people have argued that Sochi was one of the “worst Olympics” to date, the games were well played and full of exciting moments.

Sunday’s events saw Canada dominate Sweden 3-0 for the men’s ice hockey gold, while the Russian Federation won the bobsled four-man heat and the men’s 50 km mass start free. The games closed with the host country, Russia, in first place of the medal count with a whopping total of 33 medals (13 gold, 11 silver, 9 bronze).

The United States took second with a grand total of 28 medals (9 gold, 7 silver, 12 bronze), while Norway took third place with a total of 26 medals (11 gold, 5 silver, 10 bronze). The United States suffered in this year’s Olympics. The men’s and women’s ice hockey teams both faced Canada’s onslaught (men losing to Canada in semi-finals and women losing in the gold-medal match), while men’s slalom competitor, Ted Ligety, failed to complete his second run. The men’s ice hockey team was further disappointed after the defeat by Canada, losing to Finland in the bronze medal match. There was also uproar when American-born snowboarder, Vic Wild, won a gold medal for Russia in the parallel slalom snowboarding event.

But the United States prevailed in several notable events over the course of the Olympics. 18-year-old Mikaaela Shiffrin emerged as the youngest-ever Olympic slalom champion, Sage Kostenburg rose to fame after winning the United States’s first gold medal in this year’s games, and ice skating duo Meryl Davis and Charlie White earned record-setting scores and a gold medal in ice dancing. It has been 38 years since the United States won a gold in the ice dance event.

Although the Olympics are a competition of athletic might, there were also some unforgettable non-sporting moments. There was the incredible opening ceremony coupled with the awkward moment when the Olympic ring failed to open, and the amusing, yet worrisome, twitter updates from Olympic village, ranging from the poor conditions of the hotels to bobsledder Johnny Quinn’s bathroom escape, keeping audiences across the world entertained. And who could forget the ice-skating broadcasting duo Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir’s magnificent outfits?

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony was held at Fisht Olympic Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 23. The ceremony, though it was less of a spectacle, was, in this reporter’s opinion, just as well done as the opening ceremony, with fantastic dance performances, inspiring displays of national pride by the delegation flag bearers, and the recreation of the Olympic rings (all five successfully opened this time).

The Closing Ceremony also included a symbolic tradition – an acknowledgement of the next country to host the Winter Olympics. The flag-handover ceremony from Russia to South Korea and subsequent vocal and musical performances by South Korean artists artfully introduced the next host-country, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The countdown officially begins now for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea: only four years left to go!

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