The Americans failed to reach their medal target, and non-eu countries will catch up in the athletics where Team USA thrived
On the surface the United States’ collective describe at the Pyeongchang Olympics doesn’t examine so bad: 23 medallions and nine ambers, good for fourth on the table no matter how you sort it behind Norway, Germany and Canada. But appearances is also possible deceiving.
There is no sugar-coating Team USA’s lowest medallion drag since the 1998 Nagano Tournament, when they won 13 medallions( there were 68 phenomena then compared to 102 this time around ). The raw digits upon closer inspection simply appear worse and will be the subject of no small-scale amazement as the United States Olympic Committee opens the inquest in search of where it went wrong for the biggest American delegation in history.
” We’re going to take a hard look at what appeared here ,” chef de mission Alan Ashley said on Sunday at the USOC’s closing news conference.
The overall total falls short of the committee’s target objective of 37 medallions and baseline of 25 as revealed by an internal certificate obtained by the Associated Press this week. Ashley offered up a number of possibilities for the United States’ underperformance. There was bad weather: the high winds that mashed Mikaela Shiffrin’s alpine skiing program on either demise and costs her two more kills at honours. There were near miss: the full amounts of the of 35 Americans who finished exactly off the rostrum between fourth and sixth during the Olympics.
But the United States’ decline in boasts it formerly counted on for medallions is a major part of the question. Believe accelerate skating( as opposed to short way acceleration skating ), which has produced more US awards than any other wintertime play in history. They’ve now prevailed a single copper over the last two Winter Competition- in Wednesday’s women’s crew pursuing- compared to 19 honours in the previous three Olympics combined. The once-proud anatomy skating program has descended on same hard time, although coppers in the team phenomenon and ice dance prevented a total shutout.
Ashley assured the assembled media that no stone “il be going” unturned during the course of its post-mortem, including a hard look at non-eu countries such as Norway, whose 39 awards in Pyeongchang broke the previous Winter Tournament account of 37, be determined by the United States in 2010.
” We’re going to look at the other countries,[ and ask ],’ What are they doing ?'” Ashley said.” One of the things I’m curious about is that Norway had a runaway success here and they really did a great job preparing their athletes and I certainly admire them for that. I admire their contestants as well. I want to find out some things about what they’re up to. And I certainly want to sit down and get the feedback from the athletes about what sort of things they see in the field in preparing their contestants so we can learn from that and focus on some of those events moving forward, whether that’s in the areas of coaching, better course, better technology and innovation, more competition possibilities .”
But there’s no reason to believe explanations will be found in emulation of the Norwegians, who clean up in traditional Olympic plays like cross-country skiing where the Americans seldom catch a scent of the rostrum- the delightful exception of Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall notwithstanding. Yes, the other nations benefit from state-sponsored funding while the USOC does not, but there’s every reason to believe Ashley should be getting more mileage out of a budget assessed at more than $60 m per Olympic cycle.
Geography no doubt been an important factor. The Pyeongchang and Nagano low-water markings- in addition to being able to an anemic eight-medal haul at Sapporo 1972- suggest the US underperform when the Olympics take place in Asia, which is something they might wishes to dissect with the countdown to Beijing already under way.
But most tellingly, simply 11 of the Americans’ 23 medals came in phenomena that were on the program at the 1988 Calgary Olympics where the United States hit rock bottom with six, inspiring an overhaul of the entire winter sports infrastructure. The rest came from the newer snowboarding and freestyle skiing events.
One thrills to conceive where the Americans might have wound up in the counter if not for the pass at the Phoenix Snow Park, where the United States hoovered up the first four snowboarding ambers gifted behind Shaun White( men’s halfpipe ), Chloe Kim( women’s halfpipe ), Jamie Anderson( women’s slopestyle) and Red Gerard( men’s slopestyle) before David Wise’s ski halfpipe win on Thursday afternoon.
Often these plays are dominated by North Americans for one or two cycles/seconds before the rest of the world begins to catch up.
So perhaps the easiest answer is to keep adding more boasts where the Americans have a good chance of success. Because otherwise the issues to, in cold light of day after the USA’s worst Winter Olympics haul in a generation, start to feel mighty difficult.