Winter Olympic Games Concludes with Disappointing U.S. Medal Count

Winter Olympic Games Concludes with Disappointing U.S. Medal Count
U.S. Women’s bobsleigh driver Elena Meyers Taylor carrying the American Flag during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games Closing Ceremony. | Image from NBC

When the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, came to a close on February 20, the closing ceremonies and medal awards left the U.S. with a somewhat disappointing final tally. Team USA is not known for massive medal hauls during the Winter Olympics Games, but the team’s 25 total medals and eight gold medals fell short of expectations.

Overall, Team USA finished fifth in medals, and was one of three countries to tie for fourth place in gold, joining Sweden and the Netherlands. Norway finished first overall and first in gold, with 37 medals total and 16 of the highest distinction. The Russian Olympic Committee, Germany, and Canada placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall, respectively.

The Winter Olympic Closing Ceremonies gave the athletes one last opportunity to parade and show off the national colors. U.S. Women’s bobsleigh driver Elena Meyers Taylor was selected by Team USA to carry the Stars and Stripes, becoming only the second person since 1948 to have the honor of being selected to carry the flag for both an opening and closing ceremony. Meyers Taylor tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival in China, preventing her from carrying the flag for the February 4 opening, but was able to do so for the closing ceremony instead.

Meyers Taylor won silver in the first-ever Women’s Monobob event and added to her collection with a bronze finish in the Women’s Two-Woman Bobsled event. Her brake-woman for the event was Arlington-raised and Philadelphia-born Sylvia Hoffman, competing in her first Winter Olympic Games. The medal was the fifth overall for Meyers Taylor, giving her two more medals than any other U.S. bobsledder and distinguishing her as the most-decorated black athlete in Winter Olympic Games history.

In what has become a Winter Olympics tradition, Team USA Women’s ice hockey faced off against the team from Canada in the final but were unable to clinch victory, taking home the silver medal. The Women’s team has medaled in all six Winter Olympic Games since the event became part of the lineup, winning gold in 2018 and 1998.

The U.S.’s men’s ice hockey team was favored for a medal and got off to a fast start. Three consecutive wins put the Americans in the Quarterfinal match after leapfrogging the final competition for placement. However, in a shocking turn of events, Team USA was eliminated by Slovakia in the quarterfinals. 

One of the new events held for this year’s Winter Olympics, the Mixed Team Snowboard Cross event, proved to be an opportunity for a surprise gold medal finish for Team USA. Snowboarders Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner both finished in first place to secure the first-ever gold in the sport. 

Baumgartner’s medal would be the closest that Team USA’s men’s snowboarders would get to the podium for the 2022 games. Legendary snowboarder Shaun White, already in possession of three gold medals from previous Winter Olympic games, failed to make the podium in his last Olympic appearance. Women’s snowboarding for Team USA captured three medals in addition to the gold won in the Snowboard Cross. 

The 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in the alpine town of Milano Cortina in Italy. The closing ceremonies saw the Olympic flag handed to officials from the region before the torch was extinguished, bringing a formal end to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

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