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Fireworks go off during Opening Ceremonies at Fisht Olympics Stadium
By KYLE BENNETT
We wait a long four years to watch over 200 countries compete in the single greatest sporting event the world has to offer, the Olympics. February 6 kicked off the XXII Winter Olympiad in Sochi with the all-new Team Figure Skating event. The host nation, Russia, took home the games’ first gold, followed by Canada with Silver and The United States capturing the Bronze. And the day ended with another new event, the Slope Style snowboarding, where American’s Sage Kotsenburg took home Gold.
Opening Ceremonies was a marvel of a performance. Russia was able to connect its incredible history with the modern happenings of today. The athletes were introduced country by country and filled Fisht Olympic Stadium. As all the athletes had made it into the stadium, some of Rusia’s most well-known athletes, tennis star Maria Sharapova, pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, wrestler Aleksandr Karelin, and gymnast Alina Kabaeva all carried the torch into the stadium before passing it to figure skater Irina Rodnina and 1980 hockey star Vladislav Tretya, who lit the Torch and President Vladimir Putin declared the Sochi Games open.
The days in Sochi continued and the United States and Russia showcased talents, including the next generation of athletes. Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia, 15, won Olympic Gold in the Team Figure Skating event, while the United States’ Gracie Gold, 18, Ashley Wagner, 22, and Jason Brown, 19, took home the Bronze.
As snowboarding’s half-pipe event arrived, all eyes were on super star Shaun White. The two-time defending Gold medalist was looking to become the first person to win three gold medals in a row in the half-pipe event. With a lackluster first run, White fell short of making the podium and Iouri Podladtchikov, also known as iPod, from Switzerland, took home the Gold.
The countries that started the games off fast in the medal count stayed there for a majority of the games. Host nation Russia, the United States, Norway, Canada and the Netherlands stayed in the top 5 in the medal count throughout the games.
A big medal came in Ice Dancing as America’s Charlie White and Meryl Davis took home the United States’ first Gold medal in the event, while setting a new World Record score of 195.52, edging out Canada’s Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue (190.99).
The main event of the Winter Olympics, the men’s hockey tournament, did not disappoint. The United States’ T.J. Oshie became an American hockey icon as he took down Russia in a shootout and helped the United States stay undefeated in group play. After the game, Oshie was being declared an American hero. Oshie countered that argument with “The American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me.” Although as the medal round came, the United States fell short of the podium, being shutout in two consecutive games against Canada and Finland.
America came to play in the slope style skiing event as Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, and Nick Goepper swept the podium in the first ever running of the event. Christensen sealed his win in the event in his first run, scoring a 95.80, just 4.20 points away from perfect.
As closing ceremonies ended, Russia finished on top in the medal count with 33, the United States finished second with 28, and Norway rounded out the top 3 with 26 total medals. The Olympics displayed fan favorite veterans like Shaun White, Bode Miller, Evgeni Plushenko, and the Jamaican Bobsled team, but it also gave us an idea of what the Winter Olympics will be like in four years with the young talent of Davis and White, Podladtchikov, Lipnitskaia, Gold, and the new wave of Olympic talent. Sochi was the Olympic games to remember. Olympic veterans passed down the torch to the next generation of great Olympic athletes.