Team USA’s Most Memorable Winter Olympic Moments of the Last Decade | Launderer’s report

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    For hundreds of athletes, representing Team USA at the Winter Olympics can be a career-defining honor. Years later, however, a select group has managed to stay in our memories.

    Whether it’s a teenage sensation breaking through, an all-American contingent on the podium, or neighborhood dads winning curling gold, these moments are lasting images of the Sochi Games. 2014, Pyeongchang 2018 and Beijing 2022.

    The choices are subjective and, beyond the separation based on Olympic year, listed in no particular order.

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    Gero Breloer/Associated Press

    At the 2014 Sochi Games, slopestyle made its Olympic debut. And the United States largely dominated the event.

    Joss Christensen posted a 95.80 thanks to a triple switch 1440, whichby Lindsay H. Jones of USA todayhe had learned it only two days earlier. For good measure, he scored a 93.80 that would have clinched gold anyway on his run to glory.

    Also on the podium were teammates Gus Kenworthy (93.60) and Nick Goepper (92.40) who took silver and bronze respectively.

    “I knew they all had a chance to win a medal, whether it’s one of them, or two of them, or three of them, you just do what you can so that they’re all ready,” said American freeski coach Skogen Sprang. “They did their job, stomped their runs and crushed it. I’m thrilled for all of them.”

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    Nearly a decade later, Mikaela Shiffrin has become one of the most decorated skiers in United States history. Even after a disappointing roster in 2022, she is a three-time Olympic medalist.

    But in 2014, Shiffrin was simply a rising star.

    Shiffrin headed into Sochi as the favorite in the slalom but faced a packed field. The three medalists of the Vancouver 2010 Gamesplus 2006 bronze medalist Marlies Schild of Austriareturned to challenge Shiffrin, then the 18-year-old reigning world champion.

    However, she set the fastest time in her first race and won the gold medal, beating Schild by 0.53 seconds. Shiffrin became the youngest slalom winner in Olympic alpine skiing history.

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    TJ Oshie was a very good hockey player who made Team USA because he was exactly that. But he also got a spot on the list in part because he was very, very good at gunfights.

    Unlike the NHL, international rules allowed a player to make any number of attempts after the first rounds of the shootout were over. Wanting a specialist to take advantage of the rule if necessary, the United States put Oshie on the list.

    And that moment came as a group against Russia.

    Oshie opened the shootout with a goal, then came back for five more attempts in the sudden-death portion of the shootout. He beat Russian goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky 4 out of 6 times overall. And after his American teammate Jonathan Quick made a save in the seventh round of the shootout, Oshie scored the game winner to give the Americans a dramatic 3-2 victory over the host nation.

    Team USA then lost to Finland in the bronze medal game.

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Four years later, American hockey stages another epic shootoutand this time it resulted in a long-awaited gold medal.

    After winning the inaugural women’s tournament at the Nagano Games in 1998, the United States has narrowly missed four consecutive Winter Olympics. Team USA lost to Canada in three gold medal games (2002, 2010, 2014) and won bronze in 2006.

    In 2018, Canada overthrew the Stars and Stripes in the preliminary round. But the rematch went to the United States, who scored a third-period equalizer to force overtime.

    Even at 2-2 in five rounds of the shootout, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson beat Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados to give Team USA the lead. USA keeper Maddie Rooney then stoned Meghan Agosta to seal a 3-2 win and end the gold-less streak.

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Snowboarding has rarely had mainstream stars, but Shaun White broke into the national consciousness in the 2000s. The next generation, however, announced itself in Pyeongchang.

    And by next generation, we mean 17-year-olds.

    At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Chloe Kim (halfpipe) and Red Gerard (slopestyle) won gold medals and the hearts of American fans. Kim tweeted through his hunger on qualifying day, then routed the field with a 98.25 in the final. Gerardwho overslept, lost his jacket and swore on live TVscored an 87.16 to beat Canadian pair Max Parrot (86.00) and Mark McMorris (85.20).

    Kim successfully defended her title at the 2022 Beijing Games, while Gerard finished fourth.

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Speaking of the rare first mainstream American snowboarder, Shaun White had redemption on his mind in 2018.

    The “Flying Tomato” legend began at the Turin Games in 2006, where he went from an X Games star to a national icon. White defended his crown with the “Tomahawk” at the Vancouver Games in 2010 and traveled to Sochi in search of a hat-trick.

    However, he missed out on the podium in Russia with a fourth place finish. Then, just months before Pyeongchang, White crashed during a practice run and needed 62 stitches.

    Setbacks led to a golden triumph in 2018.

    Going into his final run, White trailed Japan’s Ayumu Hirano (95.25) but landed two 1440s back to backwhat he had never done beforeto post a 97.75 and regain the top step of the podium.

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    At the start of the Pyeongchang Games, American cross-country skiers undoubtedly knew this reality: the only American to win an Olympic medal was Bill Koch, who won silver in 1976.

    Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall have teamed up to end the drought.

    In the team sprint, Diggins made a furious late comeback to secure Team USA’s first gold medal in the discipline. After parting ways with Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla, the American star edged out Sweden’s Stina Nilsson in the home stretch as NBC broadcaster Chad Salmela exclaimed “Here’s Diggins!”

    Diggins again made history in 2022, winning bronze in the sprint and becoming the first American to win an individual medal in the cross country sprint.

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    Curling is often considered the sport most relevant to the Winter Olympics. While the sport undoubtedly requires an immense level of skill, no reasonable person would argue that curling is more difficult than, well, literally anything else on the program.

    And the American teamled by skipper John Shusterearned a cult following en route to a gold medal in Pyeongchang.

    Shuster was part of a bronze medal winning team in 2006. At the next two Olympics, however, the United States men finished 10th and 9th respectively out of 10 nations. Expectations were higher in 2018, but certainly not to the point of a gold medal.

    Joke on us!

    Shuster, John Landsteiner, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton and alternate Joe Polo combined to clinch Team USA’s first curling gold medal. They recovered from a 2-4 start, winning five games in a rowincluding against Canada in the semi-finals and Sweden for goldto shock the curling community and spark a wave of new fans in the United States.

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    Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

    At this time, it is impossible to know what results from the Beijing 2022 Games will be widely recognizable over the years. Still, a handful of prime candidates have emerged.

    The unfortunate possibility is that Shiffrin does not medal in five individual events. Should compete for three medals, at worsta staggering level of expectation, but not unfoundedshe skied in each of the slalom, giant slalom and combined.

    Among the many positives, Lindsey Jacobellis finally won gold in snowboard cross aged 16 after a mind-blowing crash cost her one in Turin. She added another gold alongside Nick Baumgartner in the team event.

    Erin Jackson became the first black woman to medal in speed skating in Olympic history, winning gold in the 500 meters. Figure skater Nathan Chen scored a world record 113.97 in the men’s short program before celebrating his own gold medal.

    Also, 50 years after his mother, Barbara Cochran, won gold in slalom, Ryan Cochran-Siegle won silver in super-G.

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