Winter Olympics 2018: Five takeaways on a U.S. team that finished fourth in medal race

The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics introduced many highs and lows for the USA. 

There have been surprising performances on the snowboard, a heartbreaking end for the lads’s hockey team, a thrilling shootout victory for the gold medal-profitable ladies’s hockey team and a lot extra. 

Listed here are 5 takeaways from the 2018 Winter Olympics, the place Team USA earned 28 medals, ending fourth behind Norway (38), Germany (30) and Canada (29). 

1. Ladies’s hockey broke obstacles whereas the lads struggled

For the primary time in 20 years, Team USA’s ladies’s hockey team gained gold, snapping Canada’s streak of 4 consecutive Olympic titles. The U.S. was coming off of a heartbreaking loss in Sochi, the place it fell to the Canadians and took house a silver medal, however it was clear in Pyeongchang redemption was on the minds of the gamers. 

The championship recreation got here right down to a shootout and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson secured the gold for the U.S. by breaking a 2-2 tie in the sixth spherical. She did so with a transfer that she calls “Oops, I did it once more,” and it’ll ceaselessly have a place in U.S. lore.

There isn’t any doubt the lads’s hockey team struggled with out a roster full of professional gamers. The NHL introduced in 2017 that the league wouldn’t have a break in the schedule to accommodate the Winter Olympics, forcing its gamers to remain residence whereas collegians and people from European leagues represented the U.S.

It left the team struggling to compete towards worldwide squads it might have simply crushed at some other Olympics. Hold in thoughts, the NHL had participated in each Winter Olympics since 1998, with a complete of 706 gamers attending, however with out them in Pyeongchang the U.S. was eradicated in the quarterfinals by way of a three-2 shootout loss to the Czech Republic. 

To place that in perspective, the lads failed to succeed in the medal spherical on the Olympics for the primary time since 2008. Even worse, Team USA has did not medal in eight of the ten Olympic tournaments because the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980. 

2. Strain acquired the perfect of Alpine skiers

There isn’t any doubt competing on the Olympics brings a entire new degree of nerves, nevertheless it’s a simple argument that Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin have been competing with an added sense of strain that did not essentially work in their favor.

Vonn missed out on the 2014 Sochi Video games resulting from a knee damage however gained gold in the downhill at Vancouver eight years in the past. The stakes have been excessive in Pyeongchang as she was among the many favorites to win gold in the downhill. She finished third in that race and sixth in the ladies’s tremendous-G, making errors that value her greater finishes.

She was competing with a heavy coronary heart for a grandfather who handed away in November. There additionally was the probability that Pyeongchang can be her final Olympics.

Shiffrin confronted comparable strain in that she was anticipated to defend her gold from Sochi in the slalom. She gained the enormous slalom however was fourth in the slalom, her greatest occasion. Dangerous climate circumstances pushed Shiffrin’s two greatest disciplines again-to-again. She had a few days off earlier than she competed in the Alpine mixed, in which she took house silver. 

three. The U.S. is a massive menace in snowboarding

Team USA’s snowboarders accounted for seven of the 28 medals by the U.S., which was probably the most from any sport. Of the USA’s 9 gold medals, 4 got here from snowboarding. General, the team gained these 9 gold, seven silver and 12 bronze.

When considering of the Winter Video games, many level to Alpine snowboarding and determine skating as sports with the very best U.S. presence, however snowboarding is shortly turning into a part of the combination. Purple Gerard kicked issues off with the primary gold in Pyeongchang for the U.S., adopted by defending champion Jamie Anderson, who gained the ladies’s slopestyle. Chloe Kim stored the development going with a win in the ladies’s halfpipe whereas Shaun White reclaimed a gold in the lads’s halfpipe.

Anderson was one in every of solely two People to defend their gold medals from Sochi. She earned a silver medal in the ladies’s massive air 10 days after profitable gold, making her the primary feminine snowboarder to win two medals on the Olympics. The feat additionally tied her with White and Kelly Clark as probably the most adorned American snowboarders of all time, with three Olympic medals.

four. Figure skating proved disappointing

Karen Chen, United StatesIf it wasn’t for Adam Rippon and the storyline of how he evokes America, there would not be almost as a lot to speak about relating to determine skating. There have been a few historic strikes from Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou and Mirari Nagasu, in addition to 2 bronze medals (in ice skating and the team occasion) that should not go unnoticed, however the majority of the determine skating performances have been underwhelming and performed into the U.S. ending fourth in the medal race.

Probably the most disappointing skates got here through the ladies’s singles program, in which all three of the People fell no less than as soon as, if not in each the brief program and the free skate. The People — Nagasu, Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen — have been by no means in a place to medal as they finished in the center of the sector in ninth, tenth and eleventh place, respectively.

Falling off the rostrum is starting to seem like a development for the People as the ladies have not gained a person medal since Sasha Cohen’s silver in 2006. Greater than that, the U.S. finished on the rostrum in each Olympic Video games from 1952 to 2006 (aside from 1964). People was those to beat in determine skating occasions, however their manufacturing has been on a decline.

5. Team USA has a brilliant future with teen Olympians and Curling

It is all the time thrilling to see new expertise come up via the ranks, and this yr America was launched to a new crop that provides hope for the longer term. 

Chen (18) made historical past earlier this season as the primary determine skater to land 5 quadruple jumps in a single efficiency. In Pyeongchang he raised the bar even larger, turning into the primary to land six quads in an Olympic Video games single efficiency. Zhou (17) turned the primary American to land a quadruple lutz on Olympic ice. 

Snowboarders Kim and Gerard are each solely 17, however they put down two of the perfect performances for Team USA.

One of many largest highlights of the Winter Video games got here on the final day, when the U.S. males’s curling team defeated Sweden to say the gold. It appeared impossible because the People solely had two wins in six video games. The team rebounded with three consecutive victories to land in the semifinals, the place they knocked out Canada. 

Many counted the American curlers out as they finished tenth at Vancouver in 2010 and ninth at Sochi in 2014, however they have been capable of pull off the win towards Sweden 10-7, placing a good of entirety on an up-and-down Olympics for the U.S.