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Clash of Nations Proceeds in Sochi

The Netherlands and the United States lead the Olympic games with 20 medals, six gold each. Russia follows in a close third with 19 medals.

The first week of the Sochi Winter Olympics has come to a close, and the first half was certainly no disappointment. Although the Olympics are over halfway done, there are still many more events to take place, including the alpine skiing, men’s and women’s slalom runs, men’s and women’s gold medal ice hockey games, and the Nordic combined finals.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 18, the Netherlands is leading the medal count with 6 gold, 6 silver, and 8 bronze medals. A majority of their medals were from the  speedskating event, where the Netherlands took all three medals in men’s 10,000 meter and women’s 1500 meter. Russia is clinging to third place in the medal count, with 5 gold, 8 silver, and 6 bronze. Both Norway and Canada trail close behind with 18 and 17 medals respectively. Not all countries have been so lucky though. Great Britain won its first gold medal on Feb. 14 in the skeleton, and other countries have not even won a medal in any event.

The United States is, for the most part, living up to its successful Olympic legacy (we always seem to do well in the games). Our gold medals have been in freestyle skiing (2), figure skating (1), and snowboarding (3). Joss Christensen won the men’s ski slopestyle final, while Sage Kostenburg (men’s slopestyle final), Jamie Anderson (ladies’ slopestyle final), and Kaitlyn Farrington (ladies’ halfpipe final) won golds for snowboarding. The record-breaking ice skaing duo Charlie White and Meryl Davis took the gold in ice dancing. The United States has also been successful in freestyle skiing, skeleton, luge, and figure skating.

There have been several American disappointments though, indicating that our performance has faltered in some events. Shani Davis only finished eighth in speed-skating, while two-time gold medalist snowboarder, Shaun White, failed to deliver. White placed fourth in the men’s halfpipe final. White was under fire earlier in the week, when he controversially dropped out of the slopestyle event, citing injury risk and a dangerous course as his reasons. He dropped out of an event that another American would have been grateful to compete in, so he essentially stole someone’s chance at participating in the Olympics. It raises the question of whether pro athletes should really be allowed to participate in the Olympics – they often have other careers to worry about.

The U.S. women’s ice hockey team put in quite the fight, beating Finland and Switzerland, but losing to Canada 3-2. The men’s team seems to be fighting as well, crushing Slovakia 7-1 on Feb. 13 and once again beating Russia on Feb. 15.

Will the United States prevail and recover from minor disappointments? The Olympics will run until Sunday, Feb. 23, so there is plenty of time to win some more medals and come out on top.

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