The 2014 Winter Olympics officially ended on Sunday, and host country Russia came out the big winner. Russia topped the medals chart with 33 total medals. It also won the most gold medals—13. The United States came in second with 28 medals, followed by Norway with 26.
BIG WINS FOR RUSSIA
In a controversial victory, Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova, 17, won the gold in women’s figure skating. Sotnikova defeated defending gold medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea, who took home silver. Italy’s Carolina Kostner earned the bronze. Fifteen-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia, who had been considered a strong contender, came in fifth.
American-born snowboarder Vic Wild also helped boost Russia’s gold-medal count. Wild moved to Russia to continue snowboarding when his career seemed to stall in the United States. He won two gold medals for Russia in the parallel giant slalom and the men’s parallel slalom. In these events, an athlete swooshes around sets of poles while boarding down a hill.
U.S. HOCKEY HEARTBREAK
Both the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey teams, which had celebrated big victories earlier in the Games, experienced tough losses.
After beating the Czech Republic 5-2 in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, the U.S. men’s team lost 1-0 to Canada in Friday’s semifinals. The U.S. went on to play Finland for the bronze medal on Saturday, losing 5-0 to finish in fourth place. Canada beat Sweden 3-0 on Sunday to win its second gold medal in a row.
The U.S. women’s hockey team suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Canadian team in Thursday’s gold-medal game. The U.S. was winning 2-0 with less than four minutes left in the game when Canada scored two quick goals to tie it up. Then Canada scored again in overtime to win 3-2. It was the fourth straight gold medal for Team Canada in women’s hockey.
Spectators of the last week of the Games witnessed many other big moments in Olympic history.
• Eighteen-year-old U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest racer, male or female, to win a gold medal in an Olympic slalom event. The next night, Austria’s Mario Matt, 35, won gold in men’s slalom to become the oldest skier ever to win an Olympic Alpine event.
• Canada’s women’s curling team won its first gold medal in the sport, beating Sweden 6-3. The Canadian team became the first to go through the competition unbeaten, winning all 11 of its games.
• The U.S.’s David Wise won gold in the first-ever Olympic ski half-pipe event.
PASSING THE TORCH
Russia closed out the Olympics on Sunday night with an elaborate ceremony. It celebrated Russia’s contributions to world culture by featuring ballet performances, classical music played on the piano, and the faces of Russian authors projected onto giant screens.
Last, the Games’ polar bear mascot put out the Olympic torch that had burned outside the stadium throughout the Games. Sochi’s mayor then handed over the Olympic flag to the mayor of Pyeongchang, South Korea—the host of the next Winter Olympics, in 2018.