The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang was one to remember. Norway broke the all-time record for most medals, Canada recorded their highest medal count in Olympic history, and the United States had their worst medal count in 20 years. Because of this poor showing, the US Olympic Committee is going to reevaluate the entire winter sport’s program after they only won 23 medals, says Fox News.
Their 23 medals were the lowest since the country won only 13 medals in 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. A document that was cited by the Associated Press revealed that the United States had a set target of getting 37 medals in PyeongChang and a minimum of 25 medals.
Alan Ashley, who is the chief of sports performance for the US Olympic Committee, says that they are going to take a long look at what happened during this Winter Olympics and rectify the problem so they’re ready in four years. One thing Ashley did do was explain that using a medal count as a means of saying how good or poor a country does is not fair to the athletes. He went on to say that it actually shows disrespect to the athletes who work extremely hard to get to this stage. But Ashley did mention that there is room for improvement and gave his word that he would figure out what went wrong this Winter Olympics.
According to Fox News, Ashley took full responsibility for the medal counts; saying that it’s basically his job to help the athletes achieve success. But the United States fortune could have been much different. They had 35 athletes finish fourth through six. If they get half of those athletes in at least third, they would be singing a different song.
One thing is certain; their lack of success during these Winter Olympics is not because there isn’t enough funding. The USOC spends $60 million during an Olympic cycle to support their athletes. They even direct a good portion of their money towards sports that have high medal hopes.
Some Positives: Despite all the negativity surrounding the medal count for the United States, there are a couple of positives that can be taken from this Winter Olympics. For starters, we all know the rivalry between Canada and the United States in Women’s Hockey. The first-ever women’s ice hockey tournament took place in 1998, which was the last time the USA won the gold medal. Last Winter Olympics, they lost to Canada, but this year they managed to win a thrilling game which was settled in penalty shots.
From one side of the ice to another, the men’s curling team has never won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. But after they defeated Sweden 10-7 in the finals, they captured the very first gold medal for the United States. What made the win even sweeter was that Canada missed on an opportunity to play for a medal in men’s curling for the first time.
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