Sochi Olympics 2014: Emphasis On Medal Count Is Absurd

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN published an article from the Associated Press about how the American Olympic team “disappointed” in Sochi, finishing second in the medal count with 28 (five less than Russia) and “only” taking home nine gold medals (two less than Norway). It contended that if not for new events such as snowboard slopestyle, the American medal count would have been putrid.

Because that’s what the Olympics are all about. Forget international camaraderie through sports, we have to assert our hegemonic dominance over the rest of the world by showing them our ice skaters can do a triple lutz better than their ice skaters. We have to beat Germany in a curling proxy-war – that’ll remind them who won WWII. And we should be embarrassed that our little brother keeps beating us in hockey.

It’s absurd to tally up the medals and conclude that one nation “won the Olympics.” We seriously need to put an end to it. By those standards, Russia won the Sochi Games – tell that to their hockey team.

Instead, we should just watch the Games, marvel at the athletes’ physical abilities and enjoy the moments of unimaginable sportsmanship such as the one Justin Wadsworth provided this year.

Plus, Americans didn’t perform as poorly as perceived. Though the men’s hockey team failed to medal and the women’s team imploded in the gold medal game, Americans dominated in many inaugural events and made history in the two-man bobsled and women’s luge. They also got through the Games and back the U.S. safely. Personally, I think that’s where the focus should be.

28 total medals, nine of them gold? Yeah, these Olympics were a real failure.

James O’Hare is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @JimboOHare, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.