With the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics now concluded, the United States officially placed fourth in terms of medal count, receiving 9 gold, 8 silver, and 7 bronze. These games were remarkable for both Norway and Germany, as they placed first and second respectively. Norway set a new record for most medals won at a single Winter Olympics with 39. For the U.S. to match and perhaps break that record, it may be beneficial to look at our country’s history in these olympic games.
In this year’s Winter Olympics, the very accomplished snowboarder Shaun White took home the gold medal for men’s snowboard halfpipe, which was the United States’ 100th all-time Winter Olympic gold medal. It was long road to #100, spanning all the way back to the 1920s. Charles Jewtraw was the first American athlete to win gold in a Winter Olympics event through the men’s 500m speed skating event. Not only that, but he was the first Winter Olympic athlete to win gold in any event from any nation.
The United States boasts 29 gold medals all-time in speed skating, which is the most of any Winter Olympic sport in our country’s history. The second most medals won during theses games is in alpine skiing, with the States totaling 16. Figure skating is a close third with 15 total gold medals.
Since its inception, the Winter Olympics have seen the U.S. take home 59 gold medals within its first 18 years. While that number is certainly impressive, it pales in comparison to today’s accomplishments. In the past five Winter Olympics alone, the United States has claimed 40 gold medals, winning at least one every single year the games take place.
At the moment, speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden hold the shared record for most U.S. gold medals won by a single athlete with 5. In fact, in the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, Heiden won all 5 of his golds this year alone, setting a record of his own. With his most recent gold, Shaun White is in third place with 3 total.
Today, only Norway has more gold medals than the United States in the Winter Olympics with 118. Now that they are neck and neck, only time will tell which country may hold the title of most accomplished Winter Olympic country in the next games, but the U.S. is certainly poised to put up a decent fight.