Congratulations to our latest Olympic medalists! I have to provide one more shout out to the amazing athletes, who provided an outstanding sixteen days of competition and success for Team USA, from Red Gerard’s and Jamie Anderson’s acrobatics in snowboarding to John Shuster and the curling team’s miracurlllll. Other memorable moments the women’s cross-country ski relay team who picked up the first gold medal in USA cross-country skiing EVER — Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall.
And, of course, the women’s hockey team finally getting that elusive gold medal in hockey (again!) through a hard-fought battle in regulation time. (What about the men’s team? Didn’t crack the semi-finals. Oh, because they’re not professionals? How much do the women get paid to play again? OK, moving on…)
Just one more time here is the list of all the U.S. medal winners, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Medal Count Analysis–Bogus and Real
Since it’s the Olympics and there are, well, numbers, then I can’t resist commenting on the data behind the tag line I keep hearing from the media: the US had its worst showing in medal performance since Nagano. Medal count summaries tend to be gobbledygook anyway, as I mentioned in a previous essay, but this offhand dismissal of the athlete’s accomplishments is particularly heinous hornswaggle.
While the 28 medals achieved was lower than in recent Games, that is out of context. Here’s a chart of all the U.S. winter medal results since the 1924 Games in Chamonix:
Notice that in 1988 Nagano and prior years, the U.S. was barely in double digits, and, in fact, was barely cracking the low teens. When all the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events were added, starting in Salt Lake City, the U.S. medal counts started to double and triple. The phenomenal medal total for Team USA in Pyeongchang is nearly twice the average prior to 1998. So, it’s not as if this 28 medals is some tiny number.
Also, our high numbers in recent games were partly due to those new extreme sports and due to the “home court” advantage of Salt Lake City and Vancouver. If you take those new sports out of the totals, our Pyeongchang result were better than many of those prior years and in line with the strong showings since 1992. In other words, those medals in curling, cross-country, and bobsled really are in line with prior Games.
I can’t wait to see a new generation of curlers and cross-country skiiers come through in Beijing 2022, inspired by the John Shusters and Kikkan Randalls of these Games. U-S-A Slay all day!