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SBD/February 17, 2014/Olympics
USOC Not Concerned About Reaching Lofty Medal Count From Vancouver Games
Published February 17, 2014
ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: In Boston, John Powers notes while the U.S. tally "won’t be nearly as hefty as it was projected to be due to their also-ran bunch of speedskaters, the US still figures to win the overall medal count again." The final seven days of competition "should yield four in bobsled, three more in freestyle skiing, two each in ice hockey and Alpine skiing, and one apiece in ice dancing and snowboarding." What is "notable in the Americans’ case is that all of their golds have come from athletes, three of them slopestylers, who definitely needed an introduction to the folks in living rooms back home." This has been a Games "where the stars’ sponsors could have saved a bundle by having them compete on commission" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/17). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman notes Olympic fans, even "people who never watch sports," will likely know Shiffrin "a lot better by this time next week." Shiffin should "walk away with the slalom gold medal and compete for the podium in giant slalom." Her every step already is "being chronicled by NBC." She did a "walkaround the mountain village here with the 'Today' show Saturday afternoon, about 20 hours after she landed" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/17).
THE 'X' FACTOR: In Buffalo, Jerry Sullivan wrote the Winter Games have become "largely an extension of the X Games" and Team USA should thank the "norse gods for the extreme sports -- and a nod of gratitude to the IOC for continuing to add new sports to the program." Of the 13 medals the U.S. had won through Friday, 10 were "in events that didn’t exist" in the ’92 Albertville Games. Seven were "in sports that were added this year," with six coming in either slopestyle skiing or snowboarding. Sullivan: "If it doesn’t involve sliding on a rail or flipping over three or four times in the air, America is second-rate in these Games" (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/16). Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom said, “For the first week, at least for anyone who is over 30, the Olympics were a lot about X Games revisited. There were a lot of sports that Americans couldn’t even understand, let alone root for” ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 2/16).