American women helped make the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games an event to remember.
From the slopes to the ice, Team USA women made history whether through their exciting wins, historic performances or simple sportsmanship. For Women of Team USA Week, we take a look at 14 times U.S. women stole the show in Sochi.
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|Mikaela Shiffrin competes in women's giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Feb. 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.|
Mikaela Shiffrin Is Youngest Skier To Strike Slalom Gold
Shiffrin was just 18 years old in Sochi and up against a trio of older, more seasoned ski racers, but even before she took to the hill for the slalom she was already something special. She won the 2013 world cup slalom title at the age of 17 and came in to the Winter Games as a favorite, then won gold to become the youngest skier, male or female, to win an Olympic slalom gold medal.
Veteran Julia Mancuso Adds A Fourth Olympic Alpine Medal
Mancuso wasn’t exactly on top of her game coming into Sochi, having finished no higher than seventh place in a world cup race in the lead-up to the Games. However, Mancuso rose to the challenge and won a bronze medal in the super combined to bring her Olympic medal total to four, the most ever for an American female alpine skier.
Elana Meyers And Jamie Greubel Win Silver And Bronze In Bobsled
Meyers (now Meyers Taylor) and brakeman Lauryn Williams held a .23 second lead heading into the final two heats of the bobsled competition in Sochi, but an outstanding effort by Canadian driver Kaillie Humphries pushed Meyers’ sled to the silver medal, with a difference of just 0.10 seconds. Meanwhile Greubel (now Greubel Poser) and brakeman Aja Evans won bronze, making it the first time two American women’s sleds earned medals at the same Games and making Meyers the first U.S. woman to earn two bobsled medals.
Lauryn Williams Becomes A Medalist For Both Seasons
With that silver medal as the brakeman for Meyers, Williams made another piece of history as she became the fifth athlete — and the first American woman — to earn a medal in both the summer and winter editions of the Games. The former track and field star won gold in 4x100-meter in 2012 and a silver medal in the 100-meter in Athens in 2004.
|Meryl Davis and Charlie White celebrate during the ice dance medal ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Gamesat Medals Plaza on Feb. 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.|
Meryl Davis (And Charlie White) Win Ice Dance
Davis and White left Vancouver in 2010 with the silver medal behind Canadians and training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, but the American duo went into Sochi as the reigning world champions. By the end, they’d added Olympic champions to their resume as well, becoming the first American ice dancing team to win gold at the Games.
In Halpipe Skiing Debut, Maddie Bowman Is Golden
Olympic halfpipe skiing made its debut in 2014, and Bowman inked her place in history by winning the gold medal. The 20-year-old performed two of the highest-scoring runs of the competition to make it a double gold in the discipline along with David Wise’s win.
In Olympic Finale, Hannah Kearney Moguls Into The Sunset With Another Medal
Kearney wasn’t able to defend her Olympic moguls gold medal in 2014, but she did win a bronze medal in her third and final Winter Games. She’d already decided that 2018 would be too much of a stretch, but Kearney left as one of the most decorated women in American freestyle skiing history.
Biathlete Tracy Barnes Sacrifices Olympic Spot So Sister Lanny Can Go
Tracy Barnes made the U.S. biathlon team, but because her twin sister Lanny — who’d had a better world cup season — fell ill during the Olympic Trials and missed three of four qualifying races, she just missed a spot. Tracy decided she’d give up her place if it meant Lanny could go, and that’s exactly what happened. Lanny Barnes finished 64th in the 15K.
Devin Logan Wins Silver Medal In Slopestyle Skiing’s Olympic Debut
When Logan blew out her knee in 2012, she did everything she could to make sure she was as prepared as possible for the 2014 Games. That included becoming a certified judge in order to better understand what went into their decisions, and in 2014 the 20-year-old skier had a tremendous run in the slopestyle skiing final that landed her the silver medal in the discipline’s Olympic debut.
|Noelle Pikus-Pace makes a run during a women's skeleton training session at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at the Sanki Sliding Center on Feb. 10, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.|
Erin Hamlin Wins Team USA’s First Singles Medal In Luge
Sometimes a medal is significant for more than just the athlete and the people who helped them along the way. Sometimes a medal is significant for the program as a whole, and that was the case when Hamlin won a bronze medal in women’s luge in 2014. Her medal was Team USA’s first in singles luge, dating back to the sport’s Olympic debut in 1964, and it made the United States just the fifth country to medal in women’s singles luge.
Out Of Retirement, Noelle Pikus-Pace Finds Redemption In Skeleton
Pikus-Pace retired after finishing fourth at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games only to decide two years later that she wasn’t done quite yet. After a successful comeback, traveling Europe with her husband and two kids in tow, she earned a silver medal in skeleton — her first Olympic medal — and then retired for good.
Americans Lead Way For Women's Ski Jumping Into The Games
Lindsey Van, Jessica Jerome and Sarah Hendrickson were three of the top 10 ski jumpers in the world when the sport made its Olympic debut in Sochi, 16 years after women began lobbying to be included in the Games (with veterans Van and Jerome among those fighting hardest for the sport’s addition). At just 19, Hendrickson was the reigning world champion but had missed the season with a knee injury, and although none of the Americans medaled, Hendrickson became the first woman to ski jump in the Olympic Games.
Kaitlyn Farrington And Kelly Clark Earn Halfpipe Snowboarding Medals
American snowboarders have long thrived on the Olympic halfpipe, and that tradition continued in Sochi when the 24-year-old Farrington edged defending champion Torah Bright of Australia for the gold medal while veteran Clark won the bronze to claim her third Olympic medal. Hannah Teter, the two-time Olympic medalist and 2006 champion, finished in fourth, marking yet another strong showing by the U.S. women.
Jamie Anderson Wins First Gold Medal In Slopestyle Snowboarding
That Anderson finished the first Olympic slopestyle snowboarding competition atop the podium was no surprise; Anderson was favored and her prowess well known. She handled the pressure with ease, however, and earned her place in history with a superior final run that left no doubt where she belonged.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.