In 2014, the United States won a total of 28 medals at the Winter Olympics. Four years earlier, they earned a whopping 37 medals. In fact, in each of the four consecutive Winter Olympics leading up to this year’s, the country earned upwards of 25 medals.
But, this year, it was starting to look like the U.S. would be closer to repeating their less impressive medal counts from the 90s. In that decade, the U.S. won only 11 medals in 1992 and 13 in each of the next two Winter Olympics.
Happily for the United States team and their fans, the U.S. appears to have evaded that embarrassingly low medal count, rocketing up to a much more decent 21 medals thanks to several victories this Thursday.
Despite the positive developments in recent days, this year’s Olympics will still be a bit of a disappointment for Americans. As Tom Weir notes at Bleacher Report, the lower medal count “isn’t what the American audience anticipated after being fed all of those optimistic promos by NBC.” In particular, there were some disappointing performances from some U.S. athletes who were expected to dominate their sports.
Interestingly, for some of the athletes, the real issue seemed to be nerves. This was especially true for U.S. figure skaters, whose regular falls repeatedly kept them from the podium. These falls came despite their consistency in practice as well as the high hopes the U.S. held for these athletes to medal.
It makes you wonder—maybe the very pressure to meet high expectations is what led many of the American athletes to fail those expectations.
All the same, these unwelcome reminders of our best athletes’ limitations are good opportunities to remind the nation of a truth it often forgets: treasures like silver and gold (or even bronze) don’t bring happiness. And, even if they did, that happiness wouldn’t last for long after the athletes lose their talents through injuries or old age.
In the end, we should remember the worlds of the Psalmist: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses” (and, might we add, in Olympians), “but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).
Leah Hickman is a 2017 graduate of Hillsdale College’s English program. She freelances for BreakPoint.org and has written pieces for multiple Hillsdale College campus publications as well as for ChristianAnswers.net/Spotlight and the Discover Laura Blog. Read more by Leah at aworldofgrasspeople.blogspot.com.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/krusunshiro
Publication date: February 23, 2018