And just like that – the Olympics are just about over for another year. The athletes are packing up their bags and taking their weary bodies (and adopted puppies) home.
It’ll be another two years before we see the Summer Olympics kick off in Rio, and another four years before the Winter Games have another run – this time in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Have you been watching? Have you become completely obsessed with figure skating or bobsledding or aerial skiing? Have you stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to watch our Aussies qualify for sports that you didn’t even know existed?
If you have – I’m proud of you, because I’ve been exactly the same. Skipping sleep to watch the snowboarding slopestyle (how do they all race so fast without running into each other?) and dreaming of being a gold medallist in the Giant Slalom.
It’s been an excellent Games, full of remarkable moments, and here’s a round-up of some of the best ones…
The Australian Medals
Considering we’re not much of a wintery nation, our Australian athletes have done some remarkable things in Sochi. We’ve walked away with three medals in total: two silvers and a bronze.
Those medals were won by…
Australian snowboarder Torah Bright won a silver medal while competing in the final of the women’s halfpipe. It was an incredible achievement for 27-year-old Bright, who also won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Remarkable Australian skier Lydia Lassila managed to score a bronze medal in the women’s aerial final. What makes this medal even more remarkable was that she was the first-ever woman to attempt a quad jump during the competition – a maneuver with a difficulty degree of 4.425.
Although 32-year-old Lassila didn’t manage to land the jump cleanly, she still got rewarded significantly for giving it a go, and ended up with a final score of 72.12. This put her in the bronze medal position behind Alla Tsuper of Belarus won gold (who scored an almost-perfect 98.01) and China’s Mengtao Xu, who scored 83.50.
Happily, this is the second medal for Lassila, who also won a gold in Vancouver in 2010.
A truly incredible achievement from 29-year-old Australian David Morris, who managed to win Australia’s first Olympic medal in men’s aerial skiing. He is, in fact, Australia’s only male aerial skier – he’s spent the last eight years travelling with women who compete in aerials, convincing the Olympic Winter Institute of Sport to please give him a scholarship.
Morris, a former gymnast from Melbourne, was shocked to win the medal, which he did by landing a quad-twisting triple somersault – a jump he’d hardly ever done before. Unbelieavbly happy, he took advantage of the attention to call for a water ramp to be built in Australia to help aerial skiers train: “We don’t have one and now we have two Olympic medals – just saying.”
Other special mentions
– Big love goes to 27-year-old Australian skier, Anna Segal, who came astonishingly close to nabbing another medal for Australia. Segal, who competes in the ski slopestyle event, finished fourth in the final after scoring 77 for her run. Segal was actually in the bronze medal position after her first run, and stayed there until the very end of the competition – only to be bumped out of third by Canadian skier Kim Lamarre.
– Special applause to Norway’s Marit Bjoergen, who brought home the fifth Olympic gold medal of her career in cross country skiing, during the women’s team sprint race. Fifth! What a superstar.
– We were so proud to hear about Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, who, at the age of 19, became the youngest male skater in 66 years to win a gold medal. He is also the first Asian to take Olympic gold in men’s figure skating.
Hanyu set a new world record during his short programme, earning over 100 points – however, he fell twice during his final performance, and finished the routine crouched on the ice, convinced that he’d lost the gold medal. Happily, the judges awarded him enough points to keep him in the position; and Hanyu’s reaction was in itself worth its weight in gold medals.
– Another beautiful story to come out of Sochi; Russian couple Vic Wild and Alena Zavarzina managed to win gold and bronze medals simply minutes apart. Wild managed to win Russia’s first snowboarding gold, with a win in the Parallel Giant Slalom – minutes later, Zavarzina claimed bronze in the women’s version of the same event. “It’s the first time we are the winners together,” Zavarzina said. “It’s the craziest day of my life.”
– And finally, it’s worth remembering Sarah Burke, an incredible Canadian skier who died in January 2012 after suffering a serious ski crash and going into cardiac arrest in Utah. She was only 29-years-old. Burke was a pioneer for the sport, and had relentlessly campaigned for the inclusion of the halfpipe in the Olympics. Before her death, she was considered a medal favourite in Sochi. Tragically – the event had to make its debut without her.
On a happy note, Burke’s former Canadian teammates — as well as freestyle skiers from a whole lot of other countries — dedicated these Olympics to her.
The general medal standings
Norway has come out on top at Sochi this year – they’ve won a remarkable 10 gold medals, 4 silver and 8 bronze. Interestingly, Norway is the most successful nation in winter Olympic history – both in regards to total medals won and gold medals won.
Following close behind with 9 gold medals each are the USA, Russia and Canada, followed by German with 8 gold and the Netherlands with 6 gold medals.
Have you been watching and loving the Olympics?
Here are some even more memorable moments from Sochi 2014:
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