Sundial staff pick the best and worst of Sochi 2014

    Ice Dancing free dance
    Meryl Davis, left, and Charlie White skated their way to the first gold medal in USA history in the ice dancing competition. Their record-setting performance has been one of the highlights of the Sochi games so far. Photo Credit: Courtesy of MCT

    Kwok Chung Chan Best of

    Meryl Davis and Charlie White brought the first gold medal in ice dancing to the U.S.  and broke their own world record in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

    Davis and White skated their short dance to the music from “My Fair Lady” and dazzled the audience by performing incredible moves.  The pair displayed an array of moves including spinning turns, dangerous lifts, intricate footwork, synchronized gestures and smooth Finnsteps. Their performance went nearly without imperfection.

    Behind one minute of Davis’s and White’s performance onstage was more than 10 years of their hard work offstage.

    Davis and White began skating together in 1997, and their gold medal justified 17 years of their blood, sweat and tear on gray ice rinks, as White said following their performance Monday.

    Davis and White scored a world record of 78.89 points in ice dance short program and beat Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, their Canadian rivals and 2010 gold medalists, by 4.53 points.

    Rohit Ghosh – Best of

    The Olympics not only represent the ultimate stage of competition for athletes around the world, but also embody a certain spirit that lets ‘foes’ be ‘friends’ – if only for just two weeks. This Olympic ethos was on display Feb. 12 when Canadian cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth assisted Russian Olympian Anton Gafarov with a broken ski during the Men’s Sprint Free Semifinals.

    Gafarov had a rough start to the race, falling down three times and ultimately breaking one of his skis after a minor crash. Advancing to the Finals was clearly no longer an option, but Gafarov intended on finishing the race in front of his home country. The Russian’s perseverance was noticed immediately after his crash, as Wadsworth leaped onto the course and ran to help Gafarov. He replaced Gafarov’s broken left ski, allowing the Russian to finish the race regardless of the wild circumstances.

    Wadsworth’s actions proved that more than any medal, the Olympics show the rest of the world what type of person one is and the values their country holds sacred. More important than Canada’s current medal count was the Fair Play Award given to Wadsworth by Jeno Kamuti, President of the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP)

    “I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line,” Wadsworth said to media immediately afterwards.

    Himerria Wortham – Worst of

    The Baltimore-based apparel company Under Armour expected great exposure by supplying the U.S. speedskating team with the trumpeting new technology of the skinsuit “Mach 39”, supposedly the fastest suit in the world.

    Yet so far none of the skaters have won any medals. With only seven more events to go, the company has been forced to go into defense mode due to them being blamed for the unsuccessful races, according to the AP.

    Under Armour has sent out a statement supporting their dedication of creating the most “state-of-the-art technology” for the Sochi Olympics, while promising that the suits were rigorously tested by the skaters prior to the events.

    The previously celebrated U.S. team that won four medals in 2010, switched back to their old Under Armour suit after only six days of using “Mach 39”.

    The suit debacle is one of the greatest disappointments to the U.S. Olympic Team this season and a enormous PR failure to the scapegoat Under Armour.

    Brian Bernstein – Worst of

    Team USA has seen its share of low points in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but none more shocking than snowboarding superstar Shaun White taking fourth place in the halfpipe event.

    White was the reigning Olympic gold medal winner and was the biggest favorite for gold coming into these games.

    At the end of the night, White recorded the highest score of any competitor, unfortunately, it was in his qualifying run which does not carry over to the finals.

    Russian born Iouri Podladtchikov, nicknamed the I-Pod, won the event riding for Switzerland. The I-Pod secured the victory on his second run by pulling off the “Yolo” trick that he invented. “(The Yolo) includes a total of 1440 degrees of spin – two head-over-heels flips and two 360-degree turns,” according to ESPN.

    Yet the halfpipe event set up like a Hollywood script featuring Shaun White as the hero.

    As the last rider of the event, White needed to beat a score of 94.75 for gold and his third straight Olympic halfpipe gold, but like in his first run, White’s fall attempting the Yolo cost him a medal, and it was the first time since the event was introduced that an American failed to make the podium.