A record-matching 17 Team USA skiers and snowboarders left the Sochi Olympic Winter Games with medals, including the first-ever slopestyle snowboarding gold going to Sage Kotsenburg after his opening day victory. (Getty Images for USOC/Joe Scarnici)
SOCHI, Russia (Feb. 23) – A record-matching 17 Team USA skiers and snowboarders left the Sochi Olympic Winter Games with medals, including a record eight gold. From Sage Kotsenburg’s opening day slopestyle snowboarding gold to teen Mikaela Shiffrin’s brilliant slalom win under the lights Friday night, the American athletes electrified Sochi fans and NBC viewers coast-to-coast. The performances were punctuated with five athletes winning alpine medals along with eight of 18 medals in new freeskiing and snowboarding events. The new events were received well by the International Olympic Committee for bringing a relevant, youthful feel to the competition program.
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING HIGHLIGHTS
Seventeen athletes won Olympic medals, matching record set in Vancouver.
Eight athletes won gold, the most ever (previous best six in Vancouver).
U.S. athletes won six of 12 medals, including three of four gold, in the new freeskiing events of halfpipe and slopestyle skiing, highlighted by a sweep of the men’s slopestyle medals and sweep of the men’s and women’s halfpipe skiing gold.
U.S. athletes swept men’s and women’s gold in new event of slopestyle snowboarding.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association played a vital role in the lobbying efforts to bring the new youthful action sports to the Games. The events were acknowledged by the International Olympic Committee for their relevance to youth and the actual activities taking place in terrain parks and halfpipes at ski resorts worldwide.
Bode Miller won his sixth Olympic medal, putting him second on the all-time U.S. Winter Olympians list (Apolo Anton Ohno leads with eight) and second on the all-time skiing list (Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway leads with eight).
Julia Mancuso extended her record with the most Olympic medals by a U.S. woman skier or snowboarder now with four.
Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest women’s slalom Olympic champion.
ALPINE SKIING Gold - Ted Ligety, giant slalom Gold – Mikaela Shiffrin, slalom Silver – Andrew Weibrecht, super G Bronze – Julia Mancuso, super combined Bronze – Bode Miller, super G
QUOTES Bill Marolt, President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Sochi 2014 was a remarkable Olympics with efficient organization and a contagious spirit from the Russian people. We brought a team that was well prepared to compete for medals with athletes who distinguished themselves as outstanding Olympians. The new events in freeskiing and snowboarding were a positive addition. The mix of great performances from our sport heroes plus the introduction of new stars will inspire a new generation of Olympians.
Luke Bodensteiner, Executive Vice President, Athletics, USSA The Olympics is a magnificent showcase for athletes – the toughest courses, the closest competition, the highest stakes. Time and time again we see that amidst all the political discussions and turmoil, it is the athletes who rise above and put on a show.
The success of our entire team, especially our 17 Olympic medalists, is a tribute to the hard work each of them put in leading up to Sochi and their innovation in performing on tough courses against athletes who were equally motivated. It’s a real credit to our high performance team, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, for the work that was done to ensure we had the right advance training and proper infrastructure here in Sochi to provide those athletes with the opportunity. Now it’s time to learn from our experiences and set our sights on PyeongChang.
New Olympic Events Some years ago we identified a range of new events in freeskiing and snowboarding that were extremely popular with youth. Our success in winning six of 12 medals in freeskiing halfpipe and slopestyle, plus both titles in slopestyle snowboarding, are a testament to the opportunities our American resorts are offering youth and their ability to rise up as Olympic athletes.