The U.S. Olympic Team won 28 medals at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games -- which ended on Sunday, February 23. Here are my top 5 performances at these games.
5. Maddie Bowman & David Wise - Ski Halfpipe
Like Kotsenburg, Bowman and Wise were "bros" entering a brave new world as the Olympic sports in which they were participating took flight in Sochi. And take flight they did, as Bowman was second overall after qualifying -- before laying down an 89 in the final round, earning the sport's first Olympic gold medal in front of her now-famous grandma, the ubiquitous "Badass Grandma," Lorna Berpall .
As for Wise, he and Bowman will be forever linked. And while Wise isn't as photogenic type as his female counterpart, he certainly will be a spokesperson for all the right reasons based on his Twitter posts at @mrDavidWise. "Wow! What a crazy night. Thanks everyone so much for the support! Stoked to share it with @mike_riddle and @KevinRolland1 two godfathers!" he tweeted. Like Bowman he was second in qualifying before winning it all.
4. Sage Kotsenburg - Men's Slopestyle Snowboarding
Going into the first-ever Olympic men's slope style competition on Saturday, February 8 the name on everyone's lips was Shaun White. But when White pulled out, the race for gold became wide open. Kotsenburg wasn't even the favorite going into the race -- but it was clear after he threw down a massive 93.50 on his first run that everyone would forget about White.
Soon after the Park City, Utah resident became a household name in Sochi, winning the first gold medal at these Olympics before jetting off to New York after his historic weekend to get a little face time with Jimmy Fallon.
3. Mikaela Schiffrin - Women's Alpine Skiing
The 18-year-old from Vail, Colorado may have changed how we view skiing forever with her gold medal in women's slalom on a difficult course designed by Croatian ski legend Ante Kostelic. That course that foiled so many great athletes during Sochi -- including over 50 in men's slalom alone -- was handled effortlessly by Shiffrin, who carved intricate but efficient patterns in the heavily salted and rapidly melting snow in the Caucasus, lifting skiing as a whole in this one moment in time. (She also finished sixth overall in giant slalom.)
She also became the first non-European skier to win four straight World Cup races in 2013 -- and is now the first American in 42 years to capture the gold medal in slalom. .
2. Steven Holcomb - Men's Bobsled
Holcomb entered the Sochi Olympics having high expectations to medal. He did not disappoint, piloting his USA-1 Night Train sleds to two bronzes -- setting a record in the process. He became the first American bobsledder since 1962 to win a two-man medal -- and surpassed it on Sunday, February 23, the last day of the games by helping his team earn a bronze in four-man.
And if that weren't enough Holcomb became the first ever American bobsledder to medal three times. Not bad for someone who successfully battled depression and a suicide attempt publicly in 2012.
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace, Women's Skeleton
Pace may have only won one silver medal at these Olympics -- but the manner with which she conducted herself made her one to remember for all time. Having had as much heartache as any great athlete in recent memory Pace overcame so much to get back to the Olympics: a broken leg prior to Torino; a stress fracture that led to disappointing fourth place in Vancouver and a miscarriage afterwards -- all of which led her to make the decision to return to competition and work her way back to Sochi.
With her husband Janson and two kids beside her every step of the way, Pace went on a tear -- winning four World Cup events in the 2013-14 season. Then came Sochi, which was a real-life fairytale, as People described it. And all five great American performances were ours, and theirs, to cherish always.
Honorable mention: Charlie White and Meryl Davis, Ice Dancing; Ted Ligety, Andrew Weibrecht, Men's Alpine Skiing; Erin Hamlin, Luge; Lauryn Williams, Women's Bobsled.