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By Will Phillips
The 2014 Winter Olympics are officially behind us, so it’s as good a time as any to look back on them. Russia was a less than gracious host at times, but all in all, things could’ve been worse. There were the issues with the hotel rooms, as well as the beating and arrest of activists/punk rockers Pussy Riot, as well as the bizarre mid-games retirement by Russian figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko, who then changed his mind and has decided he’ll try and compete in 2018.
Putting all that aside, though, the games were as eventful as any others. They were full of individual triumphs, as well as a continuation to the rivalry between the United States and Canada. In the ice dancing competition, the American duo of Meryl Davis and Charley White defeated the Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to take Gold and get revenge for the last winter games, in which the results were flip-flopped.
In the last couple of days, I’ve heard a lot about Canada’s men’s hockey team defeating the U.S. and then Sweden to take gold in that event. In addition, the U.S. men’s team went scoreless for the final 137 minutes of competition as they were shut out by Finland in the bronze medal game.
All in all, the games were a bit on the lackluster side for the U.S. At final count, the United States was second in the numbers of overall medals with 28, but faltered in the last two days of competition, taking home only one medal in the final stretch. In addition, America scored only nine gold medals, finishing behind Russia (13), Norway (11), and Canada (10).
I must admit, the cynic in me finds it a bit peculiar that Russia won not only the overall number of medals (33), but also the most gold medals during their turn hosting. I know that the Olympic committee is in charge of the actual organization of events, but it just seems a bit providential that Russia would come away looking so good from these games, when there was so much controversy surrounding their hosting.
Altogether, the games were ripe with drama. They were as entertaining an Olympics as we could ask for, and hopefully, the next time around will be just as much fun. I’ve learned a lot about sports I didn’t ever think about before, and I hope that some of these sports, such as bobsledding and ice dance, can get more screen time during the non-Olympic season going forward.
More than final medal counts and rivalries, though, the Olympics are about peace, and time away from the conflicts we’re engaged in on the battlefield. Like every Olympic games, we saw a coming together of sorts here. Friendly (for the most part) competition between nations that previously couldn’t get enough of killing one another. Personally, I prefer them to fight with hockey sticks, rather than rifles.