So the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games has come to an end, and hosts Russia took a late burst of Gold medals on the final day to pip Norway and Canada to the top of the medal table. USA only managed 4th on the overall standings, but took 6 Gold medals across all Snowboard and Freeski disciplines, while Canada took 4 in Freeskiing alone. When it comes to Snowboarding and Freeski competitions, the North Americans are quite clearly dominant – particularly in style based events like Slopestyle and Halfpipe.
USA Dominate Slopestyle and Halfpipe
The USA’s dominance in Slopestyle and Halfpipe was particularly impressive, taking home 6 out of a possible 8 Gold Medals across Snowboarding and Freeski. Of course, a disappointment for the USA was Shaun White’s 4th place in the Men’s Snowboarding Halfpipe. In difficult conditions, White just couldn’t lay down a flawless run, and the hot favourite and twice Gold medallist found himself some way behind eventual winner Iouri Podladtchikov.A Swiss and Japanese podium for the Men’s Halfpipe, with no space for favourite Shaun White, who ended in 4th place.
Of course, White is just one athlete, and despite the focus on his disappointing finish, the USA will be extremely happy with their performance elsewhere. They took all the medals in the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle, and would have taken all 4 available Gold medals in Freeski Slopestyle and Halfpipe if it wasn’t for Dara Howell, of Canada, taking the Women’s Freeski Halfpipe Gold – Devin Logan of USA could only manage Silver.
Scarce European Medals
European medals were particularly scarce in Freeskiing, although Belarus took home a double Gold in Aerials. Of the available 12 medals in Freestyle Skiing Slopestyle and Halfpipe, European countries took just 2. They also managed only 3 (1 Gold) in the same Snowboard disciplines.
While European countries might feel happy about knocking the dominant Shaun White of his snowboarding perch, it’s quite clear across the board, they have some catching up to do if they want to beat American and Canadian athletes next time around.
Despite that the British contingent will be pleased with their efforts. Jenny Jones won her country’s first ever medal on snow when she took bronze in the snowboard slopestyle and both Billy Morgan and Jamie Nicholls made the final of the men’s contest, with Nicholls finishing sixth. Britain equalled it’s best ever return at a Winter Olympics, taking four medals in Sochi. As well as Jones’ bronze, Team GB won a gold in the women’s skeleton with Lizzy Yarnold and winning silver and bronze in the men’s and women’s curling respectively.