A Look At The 34 World Championship Medals Team USA Won This Winter And Their Significance

By Karen Price | May 24, 2017, 11:26 a.m. (ET)

Although much can happen over the course of a season, it’s always nice to enter an Olympic year on top.

The 2016-17 season saw a number of U.S. athletes claim world titles and plenty of others find a place on the podium at the world championships in their respective sports. In total, athletes from the United States won 34 world championships medals this winter, and they ranged from athletes who’ve dominated for years, such as Lindsey Jacobellis in snowboardcross, to athletes breaking new ground in their sports, such as Lowell Bailey and Susan Dunklee in biathlon.

Here’s a rundown of all 34 medals won and their significance:

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Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine Skiing)

Gold, slalom
Silver, giant slalom
Shiffrin won her third straight world slalom title in February, becoming the first woman to win that many consecutive slalom championships since Germany’s Christl Cranz in 1937-39. She also became the first U.S. woman to win three world championships gold medals. In addition to her feats in slalom, Shiffrin also earned the United States its first giant slalom world medal in 12 years. Before this year, she had never placed higher than fifth in the event in either Olympic or world championship competition.

 

Lindsey Vonn (Alpine Skiing) 

Bronze, downhill
Despite returning to racing just three weeks earlier, Vonn became the first U.S. alpine skier to medal at five world championships when she took the bronze medal in downhill. Vonn, who got a late start to the season because of a broken arm, also became the oldest woman to earn a medal at the world championships at the age of 32.

 

Lowell Bailey (Biathlon)

Gold, 20-kilometer individual
The U.S. men had won only two individual world championship biathlon medals — silvers in 1987 and 2013 — prior to this year, but Bailey inked his name in the record book winning the country’s first gold medal in February. The first U.S. athlete to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Bailey hopes to become the first American biathlete to medal at the Games.

 

Susan Dunklee (Biathlon)

Silver, 12.5K mass start
No American woman had ever won an individual medal of any type at the world championships prior to 2017, but Dunklee changed that with her silver medal in the 12.5K mass start. Her best finish prior to this year’s performance was fifth place in 2012.

 

Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones (Bobsled)

Gold, women’s bobsled
The U.S. women have won two bobsled world championship gold medals, and Meyers Taylor has been the driver both times. The first was in 2015 with Cherrelle Garrett, and Meyers Taylor, the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, won her second world title this year along with Jones, the shortest woman in the field, as the brakewoman.

 

Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans (Bobsled)

Bronze, women’s bobsled
Greubel Poser and Evans were the 2014 Olympic bronze medalists, and they also claimed the bronze medal at this year’s world championships. It was the first world medal for both athletes.

 

Jessie Diggins (Cross-Country Skiing)

Silver, sprint
Diggins won a silver medal in the sprint to become one half of a U.S. double podium, alongside bronze medalist Kikkan Randall. It was her third medal in world championships history, following a 2013 gold (with Randall) in the team sprint freestyle and a 2015 silver medal in the 10K freestyle. When she finished this year’s competition by teaming with Sadie Bjornsen to win bronze in the classic team sprint, Diggins brought her world championships medal total to four and became the most decorated American cross-country skier in world championships history.

 

Kikkan Randall (Cross-Country Skiing)

Bronze, sprint
Randall won a silver medal in the sprint freestyle at the world championships in 2009, but the United States didn’t medal again in the event until this year’s double podium finish with Diggins. The bronze was Randall’s third world championships medal and added to the gold and silver won in past years. More impressive, it came less than a year after she gave birth to her first child, Breck.

 

Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen (Cross-Country Skiing)

Bronze, classic team sprint
While the team sprint bronze medal was the second of the 2017 world championships for Diggins and fourth of her career, it was the first world medal for Bjornsen. The medal also marked the first-ever world podium finish for U.S. athletes in the classic technique (with all previous medals coming in freestyle). Making the finish perhaps even more impressive was the fact that neither athlete had competed in a team sprint in two years.

 

Maia and Alex Shibutani (Figure Skating)

Bronze, ice dance
The siblings and two-time U.S. champions won their second consecutive world championship medal and third overall with their 2017 bronze. Their performance made it the 11th time in the last 13 years that a U.S. duo has medaled in ice dance at the world championships.

 

Jason Brown, Nathan Chen, Karen Chen, Ashley Wagner, Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc, Madison Chock/Evan Bates (Figure Skating)

Bronze, World Team Trophy
Four of the eight Team USA skaters made their debuts at the ISU World Team Trophy competition this season, and the Americans stood on the podium for the fifth time in a row, earning bronze. Ice dancers Chock and Bates won the short dance and were second in the free dance to highlight the U.S. performances.

 

Aaron Blunck (Freestyle Skiing)

Gold, halfpipe
Blunck followed up his first X Games gold medal with his first world championships medal, and it was a big one. The 2012 Youth Olympic bronze medalist and 2014 Olympian won his first world title at the FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships in March.

 

Ashley Caldwell (Freestyle Skiing)

Gold, aerials
After finishing fourth at both of her previous world championship appearances, Caldwell changed her luck this time around. She became the first U.S. woman in 22 years to win aerials gold at worlds. Making her victory even sweeter, she was the first woman to cleanly land a triple-flipping, quadruple-twisting jump in competition.

 

Jon Lillis (Freestyle Skiing)

Gold, aerials
Caldwell wasn’t the only U.S. aerialist to be named world champion this year. Lillis made it a sweep by winning the first U.S. men’s world title in the event in eight years and making it just the second time the United States has swept the top spots in aerials. He had only ever reached the podium in a major international competition one time before this year’s world championships, but the second time earned him the title of champion.

 

McRae Williams (Freestyle Skiing)

Gold, slopestyle
Williams leapfrogged teammate Gus Kenworthy on his final run to claim the world title and cement his status as a favorite going into 2018. Williams also earned his first slopestyle world cup crystal globe and reached the podium in six of his seven events leading up to the world championships.

 

Gus Kenworthy (Freestyle Skiing)

Silver, slopestyle
Kenworthy, who took the silver medal in slopestyle in Sochi, was leading after his third run but was surpassed by teammate Williams. Still, the U.S. pair went 1-2, and Kenworthy earned his first world championships medal.

 

Bradley Wilson (Freestyle Skiing)

Silver, dual moguls
Wilson’s third podium of the 2016-17 season was his biggest to date. Wilson earned his first world championships medal with a silver in dual moguls that gave the U.S. men their best finish since Patrick Deneen won moguls in 2009.

 

Jaelin Kauf (Freestyle Skiing)

Bronze, dual moguls
The dual moguls event was Kauf’s strength this season, helping her to earn a spot on the world championships team, and she didn’t disappoint. In her first appearance at worlds, Kauf earned a bronze medal in dual.

 

Devin Logan (Freestyle Skiing)

Bronze, halfpipe
Logan earned an Olympic silver medal in slopestyle in 2014 but had yet to medal at the world championships until this year. Her bronze medal in halfpipe was her first and added to her second-place finish in halfpipe at the world cup and Olympic test event in PyeongChang earlier in the season. She looks to be a double medal threat next year.

 

U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey Team

Gold, women’s ice hockey
The U.S. women defeated archrival Canada in overtime on home ice to win their record fourth consecutive title at the world championships. Hilary Knight scored the game-winning goal midway through the first overtime period to give Team USA its eighth world championships win in the last 10 years.

 

Heather Bergsma (Long Track Speedskating)

Gold, 1,000- and 1,500-meter
Silver, World Sprint Championships
Bronze, mass start
Bergsma opened the World Single Distances Championships with a decisive win in the 1,000-meter — the event she dominated all season — and then made history by winning gold No. 2 the next day in the 1,500-meter. With that she became the first skater to earn a world title in the 500-, 1,000- and 1,500-meter (she won the 500 in 2015). Bergsma also became the first woman to win more than one medal at three different world championships. Less than two hours later, Bergsma competed in the event that will make its Olympic debut in PyeongChang — the mass start — and took the bronze for her third medal in four races at the WSD Championships. Finally, two weeks later, Bergsma won silver medal at the World Sprint Championships, which is held over two days and combines times from two 500- and two 1,000-meter races. It was her fifth straight medal, and third straight silver, at the event.

 

Joey Mantia (Long Track Speedskating)

Gold, mass start
In his third race of his third trip to the World Single Distances Championships, Mantia found his first place on the podium, and it was at the very top spot. With the mass start world title, the former inline skater who made the switch to ice in 2011 cemented his name among the top contenders for when the event makes its Olympic debut next year.

 

Erin Hamlin (Luge)

Gold, women’s sprint
Silver, women’s singles
Hamlin last won a world championships medal in 2009, and that’s also the last time an American earned a medal at worlds in luge. The three-time Olympian and bronze medalist in Sochi ended both droughts this year with a gold medal in the sprint. The next day, Hamlin earned a silver medal in the singles race to bring her world medal total to three and become the most decorated U.S. woman in luge history.

 

Erin Hamlin, Tucker West, Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman (Luge)

Silver, team relay
Buoyed by Hamlin’s individual efforts, the U.S. relay team capped the country’s best-ever performance at worlds by winning a silver medal and bringing the total to three. It was the first time Team USA reached the podium in the event since its inclusion in 2008.

 

Hagen Kearney and Nick Baumgartner (Snowboarding)

Gold, team snowboardcross
Team snowboardcross was contested for the first time ever this year at the world championships, and Kearney and Baumgartner grasped the opportunity to claim the first-ever gold. In a tight race, the U.S. team won by less than a board length.

 

Lindsey Jacobellis (Snowboarding)

Gold, snowboardcross
At 31, Jacobellis proved she is still the queen of snowboardcross when she won an unprecedented fifth consecutive world title. She is the most decorated snowboardcross athlete ever, and hopes to capture the one medal that’s eluded her — Olympic gold — in 2018.

 

Chris Corning (Snowboarding)

Silver, big air
Bronze, slopestyle
Corning hadn’t yet reached the podium in either slopestyle or big air during the 2016-17 world cup season when world championships began. By the end, he had medals in both. The gold medalist in both events at the 2016 junior world championships, Corning earned a bronze medal in slopestyle in his senior worlds debut and followed that up with silver in big air, which makes its Olympic debut next year, a week later.

 

Lindsey Jacobellis and Faye Gulini (Snowboarding)

Bronze, team snowboardcross
Jacobellis reached the podium for the second time in a week after earning the individual world title. She teamed up with Gulini, and when the Italian team was disqualified, the pair was awarded the bronze medal behind two teams from France.

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.