SOCHI, Russia -- Snow good, ice bad.
That pretty much sums up the Sochi Winter Games for Team USA.
U.S. speedskaters combined to win one of a possible 51 medals in long- and short-track. Our amateur curlers with 9-to-5s and Saturday night bonspiels were in over their heads against rock-throwing assassins from other countries.
The men's hockey team, loaded with National Hockey League stars, lost to Canada in the semifinals -- no shame there -- but then sleepwalked its way through a brutal 5-0 loss to Finland in the bronze-medal game. Bring back Eruzione and Craig from the "Miracle on Ice."
It's a good thing we've got a lot of mopheaded kids who are, like, totally into snowboarding and extreme sports.
We might not be able to shoot the puck, but here's what we can do: switch right-side gap 270 on, pretzel 270 out on the down-flat-down, switch on, 450 out of the up rail to left side 270 on, pretzel 270 off on the down to a butter, switch slide to corked 450 off the cannon feature followed by a left side double-corked 1260 double Japan on the first booter, to switch right side dub 1080 tail grab and a switch right side triple corked 1260 Japan on the big booter.
That, friends, was the winning series of tricks by ski slopestyle gold medalist Joss Christensen. Easier said than done.
And you thought Dom Capers' defense was complicated.
Alpine skiers, snowboarders, bobsledders, lugers and skeleton sliders combined to win 23 of Team USA's 27 medals going into the final day of competition Sunday.
"I'm so happy that slopestyle halfpipe and slopestyle skiing got put into the Olympics," said Kaitlyn Farrington, gold medalist in snowboard halfpipe. "The X Games really paved the way."
Toto, we're not in Lake Placid anymore. The Games they are a-changin' and Americans are ahead of the curve.
"I know there's women like Kaitlyn and Arielle (Gold) and Chloe Kim that will do things on a snowboard I never can," said Kelly Clark, ancient for the sport at 30 but still good enough to win snowboard halfpipe bronze. "The beauty of this sport is that my ceiling gets to be the next generation's floor."
The Sochi Games produced another new set of American heroes, including the golden ice dance team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White and 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin, the youngest skier to win slalom gold in Olympic history.
The Dutch dominated in speedskating and the Canadians were terrific in hockey, their respective national sports. The host Russians were inching close to 30 medals as of Saturday night, but the gold they coveted most was in men's hockey and they didn't even make it to the semifinals.
Asked by reporters to speculate about his future as Russia's coach, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov did not sound overly optimistic: "You'll eat me and I'll be gone."
President Vladimir Putin spent a reported $51 billion to stage these Games. The staggering amount of construction included 228 miles of roads and bridges, 124 miles of railways, 47 transport facilities, 40 hotels and 15 sports venues.
"I was here a little more than a year ago and it's amazing what they've done," said Scott Blackmun, CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee. "It's very, very well done. We are very impressed. They didn't spare anything. They put a lot of people against the project, put a lot of money against the project and it shows."
The venues were spectacular, the transportation system was nearly flawless, volunteers worked a total of 200,000 shifts and were still smiling on Day 17, and most important the Olympic bubble felt safe and secure.
Sure, there were problems, as there always are at Olympic Games. Hotel rooms were still being finished right up until the closing ceremony. Hundreds of stray dogs roamed the streets and their treatment -- many reportedly were poisoned -- became an international story. Warm weather in the mountains created mushy snow on the skiing and snowboarding courses.
Overall, though, athletes raved about their experiences, spectators jammed the Olympic Park and, back home, viewers tuned in to NBC in record numbers and twitterers tweeted more than 35 million twimes.
And here's something Katarina Witt never had to worry about back in the day: U.S. snowboarder Jamie Anderson reportedly canceled her account for the smartphone dating app Tinder because she found it distracting.
"I wouldn't be surprised," said teammate Alex Deibold. "She's a babe."
Now, Olympians will pack up their pins and medals and memories and scatter to all corners of the globe.
But they'll always have Sochi.
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