Scott: The 2014 Winter Olympics wrapped up in Sochi, Russia. So who were the biggest medal winners and what were the most surprising upsets, and was it all worth it for the most expensive Olympics ever held? Well, Shelby Holliday has the story.
Shelby: With another spectacular ceremony, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia came to a close in the very same place the games began. Just like in the Opening Ceremony, Russian culture was on display. There was even a recreated blooper moment: Russia poking fun at the fifth snowflake that failed to open at the beginning of the games. But instead of the Parade of Nations seen in the Opening Ceremonies, athletes closed the games by marching together as one.
It was a friendly ending for a Winter Games marked by fierce competition. Seventeen days of awesome events and a total of 98 gold medals.
Morgan Gandi: It’s so much fun! The people here are awesome, they’re friendly, everyone wants to talk to you. So it is just really cool.
Shelby: For Team USA, the games were full of highs and lows. Eighteen-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin made history as the youngest slalom skier to ever win Olympic gold.
You are a world-class skier, but you are also just a teenager.
Mikaela Shiffrin: You get to talk to people, you get to be in magazines. It’s pretty exciting!
Shelby: Americans Joss Christensen, Nick Goepper and Gus Kenworthy swept the podium in slopestyle skiing, an event brand new to this year’s Olympics.
Olympic athlete: And the pressure definitely is a little bit more intense, you know, with the Olympics.
Shelby: And Meryl Davis and Charlie White skated their way to America’s first ice dancing gold in history.
You guys have known each other for a long time, right?
Meryl Davis: We have indeed, yes.
Shelby: You grew up together.
Davis: We did.
Shelby: But along with breathtaking victories came heartbreaking defeat. Both U.S. hockey teams were taken down by the Canadians. American speedskaters left Sochi without a single Olympic medal. And snowboarding legend Shaun White never even made it to a podium.
All in all, if the Olympics can be won by a single country, then the home team came out on top. With 33 medals, Russia took home more hardware than any other country. The U.S. came in second with 28. It is a proud accomplishment for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, whose name has been closely tied to this year’s games. But no number of medals can silence Putin’s critics who blame him for Sochi’s sky-high building costs, terrorist threats, anti-gay laws and alleged human rights violations.
There is no doubt that the 2014 Winter Olympics will go down in history for all kinds of reasons. But as for the 2,800 athletes from 89 countries, well, they will be returning home with their own memories to last a lifetime.
Olympic athlete: The beauty of sport, no matter what, is that it raises above politics. And you see it time and time again.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.
Scott: Thanks, Shelby.
Now, a lot of those athletes are going to be gearing up for the next Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018.