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Volume 24 No. 200
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Team USA On Pace For Worst Results At Winter Games Since '98

One week into the Pyeongchang Games, Team USA is "on pace for its worst Winter Olympic medal output" in 20 years, according to Henry Bushnell of YAHOO SPORTS. The U.S. finished sixth in the medal table at the '98 Nagano Games, claiming "just 13 in 68 events" -- 6.4% of available medals. It has not finished "outside the top two in the table" in the four subsequent Winter Games prior to Pyeongchang and "never claimed fewer than 9.5 percent of podium spots." The U.S. following Friday's competitions "sits tied for fifth in the medal table" and has won "just eight medals in 46 events." That is an even lower pace than seen at Nagano. Team USA has "several medal favorites throughout the second week of competition." However, a "few high-profile flops" have the Americans in an "unexpectedly poor position" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/16).

Untitled Document
TEAM USA PERFORMANCE
GAMES
U.S. MEDALS
OLYMPIC EVENTS
U.S. % OF AVAILABLE MEDALS
'18 Pyeongchang*
8
46
5.8%
'14 Sochi
28
98
9.5%
'10 Vancouver
37
86
14.3%
'06 Turin
25
84
9.9%
'02 Salt Lake City
34
78
14.5%
'98 Nagano
13
68
6.4%
NOTE: 46 of 102 events are complete through Feb. 16
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LOT LEFT TO THE IMAGINATION: USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes after seven days of competition, it is "time to call it like it is: Team USA's effort here has been kind of a flop." Some "bright spots" include the snowboard dominance highlighted by wins for Shaun White, Chloe Kim and Red Gerard, while Chris Mazdzer's "unexpected silver in luge was a delight." The second week could "bring a turnaround" in Pyeongchang. However, with figure skater Nathan Chen's "disastrous short program taking him out of contention, a medal in men's singles is highly unlikely, and the women's singles next week looks like a major longshot, too." Wolken: "The buzz for these Games was flat coming in and is yet to exceed expectations" (USATODAY.com, 2/16). In Memphis, Geoff Calkins notes the disappointing medal return for the U.S. comes despite "sending a whopping 242 athletes to South Korea, the largest team any country has ever sent." Outside of Mazdzer's Silver Medal, the "rest of the American medals are in sports that are at least a decade younger" than the 31-year-old White. Calkins: "We need to invent more sports. ... Or we could just move basketball to the Winter Olympics" (COMMERCIALAPPEAL.com, 2/16).

BLACK FRIDAY: NBC's Craig Melvin notes Friday was a “rough day for some of Team USA’s top athletes,” as skier Mikaela Shiffrin suffered a “stunning setback,” finishing fourth in the women’s slalom. Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis also endured “another heartbreaking blow” by finishing fourth in women’s snowboard cross. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie said, “A lot of heartbreak today for the Americans” (“Today,” NBC, 2/16). CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla: “It’s been a rough day here for Team USA ... after a series of strong days on the snowboard.” CNBC’s Courtney Reagan: “Lots of heartbreak. ... Such a bummer” (“Worldwide Exchange,” CNBC, 2/16).

OPPOSITE FEELING IN CANADA: The NATIONAL POST's Scott Stinson reports Team Canada is on "some kind of roll" midway through Pyeongchang, as the 13 medals so far have the country in "good shape to blow past the 26 medals won on home soil" in 10. Canada "came into these games full of bold talk and lofty predictions," and many people "expected these to be the best-ever Olympics" for the country. However, the team has "lived up to the increased expectations." Surpassing the figures from '10 would be "validation of the way high-performance sport in Canada has been run for the past decade" (NATIONALPOST.com, 2/16).