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Adios, Olympics! 8 Unforgettable Things We Learned From Sochi

Alas, another Winter Olympics has come and gone.

And thanks to the Sochi closing ceremony, all anyone will remember from it are those terrifying, giant plush toys.

Just kidding, there were dozens of amazing highlights from this year's Olympics. We learned that Gus Kenworthy is not only a champion slopestyle skier but also a champion puppy rescuer.

And that luger Kate Hansen is really good at pranks.

And of course there were one or two sports highlights. For example, we learned that the Dutch are undisputed masters of speed skating.

And the U.S. women's hockey team taught us that it's possible to blow your chance at the gold in the last two minutes of a game.

Here's a rundown of the eight best things we learned from this year's Olympics.

2014 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia.

2014 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia. (ifindkarma/Flickr)

1. First there were #SochiProblems.

Oh, where to begin?! People will be talking about #SochiProblems long after they forget about the actual sport moments.

Russia spent $50 billion to outfit Sochi for the Olympics, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from the state of the hotel rooms.

Even worse for Russia's PR, a lot of those guests were journalists. No problem was too small to share on Twitter.

And of course there was that tiny technical problem during the opening ceremony.

There were also some serious legal violations.

The takeaway seems to be that you can never have enough preparation for the Olympics. And that you should never hire an electrician from Sochi.

2. Who can forget the Bode Miller interview?

It will be hard to forget when U.S. slalom Olympian Bode Miller broken into tears after NBC's Christin Cooper repeatedly asked Miller to talk about his dead brother.

A lot of people accused NBC of trying to create TV drama by manipulating Miller's feelings.

The takeaway is that NBC's coverage in general ticked some people off.

People also heaped plenty of scorn on Cooper, some demanding that NBC fire her. Shortly after the video aired, somebody inserted a nasty comment in Cooper's Wikipedia page.

A takeaway for reporters is that covering the Olympics can be a mixed bag. And to the people altering Wikipedia pages: Go check out Miller's response to what you're doing.

3. And FYI, U.S. Ice Dancers can DANCE.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the U.S. its first ever gold medal in ice dancing. And they looked pretty magical.


Ice dancing isn't a popular sport, but after the magnificent show by White and Davis, it could catch on among youth in the U.S.

4. Bob Costas' eye infection took center stage.

The NBC sportscaster's nasty double eye infection was really, really hard to ignore. People who didn't like the Winter Olympics still seemed to tune in to watch Costa's pink eyes.

The takeaway for Bob Costas is to go see a doctor when you notice your eyes turning red and itchy. The takeaway for NBC is to not let a news anchor develop pinkeye in front of hundreds of millions of viewers. It's distracting.

5. The Russian hockey team totally choked.

Russia's hockey team failed to qualify for any medals. To say that lots of Russians were embarrassed by the defeat would be an understatement.

Putin had a hard time hiding his disappointment.

Russia used to boast the best hockey teams in the world. But the country hasn't won a gold medal in the sport since 1992. Many Russians watched the Olympics this year to see their team regain national glory by winning at home. So losing on their home turf was especially humiliating. Fans were emotional after the game.

So was the coach, who basically offered himself up as a sacrifice.

Russians are probably feeling a little better today since their country won the most medals. But the takeaway is that if Russia'a hockey team doesn't win a medal in 2018, the country will go ballistic.

6. Doping still doesn't pay.

Five athletes were kicked out of the Olympic games after testing positive for EPO, a drug that enhances an athlete's physical endurance.

This was especially bad news for Sweden, which lost its power player Nicklas Backstrom right before a hockey game with Canada, which went on to win the gold.

The takeaway is the same as every year: Don't use banned stimulants if you're an Olympian! The IOC has a rigorous screening process for drugs, it's very difficult to fool it and if you're caught you can be banned from the Olympics for life. And side note: none of the athletes who used EPO at Sochi won medals.

7. It was a good Olympics for couples and siblings.

Sometimes sibling rivalry can bring out the best in an athlete. The Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Justine, Chloe, and Maxime,won gold, medal and 12th place in women's moguls (that's freestyle skiing, for those of you who didn't watch this awesome event).

Couple Vic Wild and Alena Zavarzina took medals in men and women's giant slalom. There isn't really a metric for it, but they seem to have taken the gold for cutest couple of the Sochi Olympics.

8. Johnny Weir is fearless.

The openly gay NBC announcer won the hearts of viewers with his sharp commentary and unapologetically fantastic wardrobe.

And his hair, which he used to make political statements.

Weir was praised by many for standing up to homophobic critics in Russia by making no effort to conceal his sexual orientation.

Weir and his co-host Tara Lipinsky were incredibly popular with viewers.

Weir was so popular it looks like NBC may have him back in the spotlight again real soon.

The takeaway is that NBC could use more commentators who can match Weir's fashion sense and onscreen charm.


Watch any 2014 Winter Olympic highlights you missed >>

Sign a petition to overturn the results of a figure skating competition at Sochi >>

Let the IOC know what you thought of the Olympics >>

Learn how much airtime NBC spent focusing on LGBT issues in Russia during the Olympics >>

Change Russia's anti-gay laws >>

Learn how you can volunteer at the 2016 Olympics >>

Images used under Creative Commons licensing.

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Adios, Olympics! 8 Unforgettable Things We Learned From Sochi

Eli Wolfe

Eli is a freelance writer and researcher in San Francisco and the larger Bay Area. He previously worked for the San Francisco Magazine as an intern and fellow. At UC Santa Cruz, Eli was the managing editor for City on a Hill Press, the student-run weekly newspaper. He’s an early riser who completes more crossword puzzles before 6 a.m. than most people attempt all day. Follow: @eliwolfe4.

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