U.S falls behind in medal race

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

Four years ago, the United States won the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games medal race with 28 in total; 9 gold, 7 silver and 12 bronze. However, this time around, about half way through the games, the U.S. isn’t really in contention to win that race to the surprise of many.

Norway is leading with 29 medals, followed by Germany with 23, Canada with 19, Netherlands with 14, France with 13, and the U.S. in fifth with 12 medals.

The United States is usually favorited to win the medal race in every Olympics, so it’s understandable if they can’t live up to our extremely high standards every once in a while. In the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, the U.S. won 121 medals, coming in first as expected. Coming in second was Great Britain with 67. Needless to say, the U.S. is always favorited to win the race, just like they have for the past two games.

On the other hand, although the U.S. might not have the most medals, they sure do provide some fun athletes to watch. You might remember my top ten U.S. athletes to look out for article; if not, I had Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, Jamie Anderson, Chloe Kim and Mikaela Shiffrin as my top five. Out of those top five, four of them have gold medals.

The United States has 224 competing athletes, which is among the most out of the other competing countries, so choosing a top ten was quite difficult. I knew some of my personal favorites were going to be there, like snowboarding legend Shaun White, but for others I had to do some research. Either way, the U.S. only has 11 medals, so let’s talk about how we got them, and what we still have to look forward to.

The first medal that the United States has won was by 17-year-old Red Gerard in the men’s snowboarding slopestyle. It was his first Olympic medal, and after a terrific come from behind victory, he completely deserved that one.

Gerard wasn’t the only American to get things done in the snowboarding department though. As a matter of fact, three other U.S. athletes were able to capture gold, including my two favorite athletes, White and Kim.

Kim picked up her first Olympic medal, also at the age of only 17. She put down a perfect run in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe, capturing her Olympic gold. Following her to the podium in that event was Arielle Gold, capturing her first Olympic medal as well at just 21. Also winning gold in the women’s snowboarding division was Jamie Anderson as she found herself a gold medal in the women’s slopestyle event for the second straight winter Olympic games.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have White. At 31 years old, this was most likely his final attempt at capturing another gold medal. He last won gold in the 2006 and 2010 games, but missed out in 2014; so, he was set out on a mission to regain his crown. As the top qualifier heading into the men’s snowboarding halfpipe competition, he was already the favorite to win. So, when he flew through the pipe and put down one of the best runs of his life, you could tell that was the winning run before the scores even came in.

When White finally did find out he won, tears of happiness ran down his face, and it was a moment he won’t forget, and neither will I. White is one of my favorite athletes, so I’m hoping he doesn’t hang it up just yet, but if he does, I understand, and this is sure a great way to leave his legacy, winning the U.S.’s 100th winter Olympic gold medal.

Another athlete I said to look out for was Shiffrin. She has been tearing it up recently in the women’s skiing giant slalom and was expected to win gold in the event; and that’s exactly what she did. This was her second Olympic medal, and she’s just getting started with her skiing career. Also in skiing was Nick Goepper as he was able to pick up silver in the men’s slopestyle event, while Brita Sigourney captured bronze in the women’s halfpipe.

I also said to look out for a couple of the American figure skaters, including Adam Rippon and the Shibutani’s. They were all able to work together to pick up the bronze medal in the team event. None of them have captured individual medals yet, but it’s just a matter of time before they do.

Rounding off the U.S. medal count for now were a couple of silver medals from Chris Mazder in men’s singles luge and John-Henry Krueger in the men’s 1000m short track speed skating event. That’s the rundown for all the U.S. medals for now, but there are still plenty of opportunities for the American athletes to pick up some silverware. So, what do we still have to look forward to?

Well first of all, you have the gold medal games for both men’s and women’s hockey. Even if the U.S. doesn’t make it to the gold medal games, these are definitely still worth tuning in for. The women’s gold medal game is tonight, while the men’s is on the final day of competition on the 25.

You also have Vonn seeking redemption in alpine skiing events such as downhill and Super-G. She came in as my number one U.S. athlete to watch and I stand by that. She’s been through so many injuries, and really deserves to finish her decorated career on top.

Also making that list was Gus Kenworthy, one of the only openly gay athletes competing at the winter Olympics. If you’re interested, you can catch him in the men’s skiing halfpipe finals tonight.

There’s so many other events that I could go on and on forever listing them. We still have curling, speed skating, figure skating, skeleton, cross country skiing, ski jump and team bobsled just to name a few. So, if you haven’t been watching the first half of the games, I strongly encourage you to tune into your local station to catch some of the action. The Olympics only come around every two years anyway, so you really don’t want to miss out.