Sochi 2014
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Countries

Country:

USAUnited States of America

  • HEAD OF STATE:President Barack Obama
  • HEAD OF GOVERNMENT:
  • AREA:3,794,100 square miles
  • POPULATION:317 million
  • CAPITAL:Washington, D.C.
  • LANGUAGE:English
  • CURRENCY:Dollar
  • TOP OLYMPIC SPORT:Speedskating (29 golds, 67 medals)
  • WINTER OLYMPICS HOSTED:4 (1932, Lake Placid; 1960, Squaw Valley; 1980, Lake Placid; 2002, Salt Lake City)
OLYMPIC TRADITION:

The United States has sent athletes to every modern Winter Games - it is the only country to take home gold at each one - and is the all-time Olympic medal leader in speedskating, figure skating, snowboarding, freestyle skiing and skeleton. It's second all-time behind Norway in total medals (303-253), golds (107-87) and silvers (106-95).

In its first time hosting the Winter Games in 1932, the U.S. topped the medal count with 12 at Lake Placid. It would not do so again until 2010 in Vancouver, where it set a winter record with 37 medals.

The country's biggest victory, however, came three decades earlier at the 1980 Lake Placid Games. There, the United States pulled off perhaps the greatest upset in Olympic history when its hockey team, composed entirely of amateur and college players, defeated the gold medal-favorite Soviet Union in the medal round and went on to win gold. The victory over the Soviets, who had won four straight Olympic golds in hockey, was dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" and came during a time of high political tensions between the two countries and low morale in America amid economic and political crises. That win marks the last time the United States took gold in the event, despite the inclusion of NHL players beginning in 1998 at Nagano.

The hockey triumph wasn't America's only superlative performance in 1980 though, as Eric Heiden won five gold medals in speedskating, setting four Olympic records and a world record in the 10,000 meters. Heiden was the first athlete to win five individual golds at a Winter Games.

While 1980 represents a hallmark performance by the U.S., there's been plenty of drama and success since. Four years later at Sarajevo, a brash Bill Johnson annoyed his favored European competitors by boldly predicting an unexpected victory in the downhill. He delivered, winning the competition by 0.27 seconds over Peter Muller of Switzerland.

Recent additions to the winter program have been a boon to the Americans' medal count. The United States has dominated the newer sports, easily outpacing second-place Switzerland 19-9 in snowboarding medals and topping runner-up Canada 14-9 in freestyle skiing.

Short-track speedskater Apollo Anton Ohno is the all-time United States leader in medals at the Winter Games with eight (two gold, two silver, four bronze). That total is tied for eighth overall in Winter Olympic history.

With its record medal count four years ago, the United States posted the second of three straight Olympics in which it has topped the medals table - also doing so during the Summer Games in 2008 and 2012. It is the defending Olympic champion in women's moguls (Hannah Kearney), men's snowboard cross (Seth Wescott), men's 1,000-meter speedskating (Shani Davis), women's downhill (Lindsey Vonn), men's halfpipe (Shaun White), men's singles figure skating (Evan Lysacek), men's combined (Bode Miller), Nordic combined (Bill Demong), and the four-man bobsled (Steve Holcomb, Steve Mesler, Curtis Tomasevicz and Justin Olson).

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