- By Jeremy P. Kelley Staff Writer
The U.S. Olympic team this weekend wrapped up its lowest medals table finish since 1998 in Japan — the last time the Winter Games were held in the Far East.
United States Olympians won 23 medals in the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea — good for fourth behind overwhelming leader Norway (39), Germany (31) and Canada (29). The U.S. team also had the fourth-most gold medals, with nine. Norway and Germany won 14 golds each, while Canada had 11.
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In the previous four Winter Olympics, Team USA finished second in overall medals behind host Russia in 2014, a clear first in Vancouver in 2010, second behind Germany in Italy in 2006 and second behind Germany in Salt Lake City in 2002.
In those 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, Team USA finished sixth in the medals table — a fairly standard finish for the Americans in the 1980s and ‘90s before snowboarding, freestyle skiing and short-track speedskating became a big part of the Olympic program.
In the 2018 Games, four of the Team USA’s nine gold medals were won by snowboarders (Chloe Kim, Shaun White, Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson), with the others coming one each in freestyle skiing halfpipe (David Wise), giant slalom skiing (Mikaela Shiffrin), and team events for women’s hockey, men’s curling and women’s cross-country skiing.
Women won 12 of Team USA’s 23 medals, with men winning nine, and two coming in mixed-gender figure skating events. The U.S. team won seven total snowboarding medals and four in freestyle skiing.
Four U.S. athletes won two medals. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin won gold in the giant slalom and silver in the alpine combined, while snowboarder Jamie Anderson won gold in slopestyle and silver in big air. Figure skaters Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani won bronze medals in both the ice dance and the mixed team event.
Of the 15 Olympic sports, the United States medaled in 11, getting shut out only in biathlon, ski jumping, Nordic combined and skeleton.
The closing ceremonies of these 2018 Winter Olympics will be televised at 8 p.m. today.