10 U.S. Olympic Athletes Who Shined in Sochi

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U.S. Olympians Who Shined in the Winter Games

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The 2014 Winter Olympic Games are in the books. The closing ceremonies took place Sunday night and we said goodbye to Sochi. I’m an avid sports fan, and as such I always look forward to the Olympics. I prefer the Summer Games to the Winter Games, but seeing some of the best athletes in the world compete in various events is always entertaining.

I know there are some sports I won’t pay that much attention to until the next Winter Games (figure skating and snowboarding come to mind), but it is always wildly entertaining to watch athletes who have trained and done almost nothing else for four years compete against each other. That being said, this Olympics had its fair share of issues from overbooking at hotels, the hotels not being in great condition (putting it mildly), Russia’s anti-gay law thanks to President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Government ordering that stray dogs in Sochi be put down and the weather not being conducive to a Winter Olympics (made the snowboard half pipe events and some of the skiing difficult to watch).

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed watching the Olympics; it was just frustrating to see some of the best snow boarders (including Shaun White) struggle with the slush at the base of the half pipe and many skiers fall or get disqualified because of conditions or a weird course set up that they had to navigate. When I watch the Olympics I want to see the best performances from the most talented athletes in that sport, and that was not the case in Sochi.

In amongst some of the frustration there were some awesome performances by U.S. athletes, even if most of the medal ceremonies were not televised. Here are 10 U.S. Olympic athletes who shined in Sochi.

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10. Julia Mancuso

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The 29-year-old, a four-time medalist, won bronze in the super-combined and it is possible this was her last Olympics. Give me Julia over Lindsey Vonn any day.

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9. Jamie Anderson

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Jamie, 23 years old, won gold in the Olympics’ inaugural snowboard slopestyle event.

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8. Bode Miller

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The 36-year-old took home an emotional Bronze medal in the Super-G, and in doing so became the most decorated American Olympic alpine racer and the oldest alpine skier to medal at an Olympic Games.

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7. Sage Kotsenburg

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Won the Olympics’ first gold medal in the first snowboard slopestyle event and later said he wished his medal was made of bacon. That is pure gold.

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6. Ted Ligety

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Yes, Ligety had a poor showing in the super combined and super G, but then he had two great runs in the giant slalom and took gold, becoming the first American to win two alpine skiing gold medals.

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5. Mikaela Shiffrin

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At 18 years old, Mikaela became the youngest winner of an Olympic slalom gold medal. How awesome was the wink Mikaela gave before one of her runs? What a cool customer. Amazing.

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4. Meryl Davis and Charlie White

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I’m not a huge ice dancing fan, but Davis and White left little doubt (I know Canadians disagree) they were best as they took gold after two nearly flawless routines. Since they are a team I have to put them together in this list.

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3. T.J. Oshie

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If you didn’t know of Oshie before the Olympics you certainly did after he scored the winning goal in a sudden death shootout to give the USA a 3-2 win over Russia. Maybe it wasn’t quite a “do you believe miracles?” moment, but it was unbelievable nonetheless.

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2. Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, Nick Goepper

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These three men went 1-2-3 in the free style skiing slopestyle event. A USA sweep? All three have to make my list together.

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1. Gus Kenworthy

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I know I previously listed Gus along with Joss Christensen and Nick Goepper because the 22-year-old took home silver in men’s slopestyle skiing, but I had to list him by himself at No. 1. My reasoning is because Kenworthy stayed behind after he was done competing and delayed his flight home to Colorado so he could adopt four stray puppies (along with their mother) he found in Sochi. I honestly did not know of Gus before the Olympics, but I am a huge fan now.