Entries for April 2014

A Presidential Celebration

At the White House

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted more than 200 Olympians and Paralympians at the White House this afternoon. Among the athletes in attendance were Paralympic skier Tatyana McFadden, wheelchair curler Jimmy Joseph, and the entire U.S. sled hockey team.

President Obama congratulated the athletes on the 46 medals Team USA brought home from Sochi, calling special attention to Declan Farmer’s three goals scored to help the U.S. sled hockey team win its second consecutive gold medal. At the end of the event, the President and First Lady were presented with Olympic and Paralympic flags signed by the athletes.

And the Winner is...

Best of U.S. Awards Show

Outstanding Paralympians and Olympians from 2014 Winter Games in Sochi were honored last night at the inaugural "Best of U.S." Awards Show, held at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Presented by the United States Olympic Committee, the awards were decided by fan voting on the Team USA Facebook page.

Skier Mark Bathum won as Best Male Paralympian for his silver medal performances in both men’s super-G and super combined events (visually impaired). Eighteen-year-old skier and first-time Paralympian Stephanie Jallen took home two awards, for Best Female Paralympian and for Moment of the Games. When Jallen won bronze medals in women’s super-G — her first Paralympic event ever — and in women’s super combined (standing), her joyous reaction lit up the medals ceremonies.

And our ICE WARRIORS were voted "Team of the Games" for winning historic back-to-back gold medals as they defeated the home team, Russia, in their home arena.

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Team USA Highlights from Sochi

Moments that stood out for Team USA in Sochi –

Tatyana McFadden

1. 10-time Summer medalist Tatyana McFadden (above, left) won our hearts by taking silver in the women’s nordic 1km sprint (sitting) after less than a year of winter training – and by doing it in front of both her Russian birth mother and the adoptive family who brought her up. Watching her win – and her grimace as she realized she’d come within a fraction of a fraction of a second of gold – suggests she’ll be back and gunning in the next Winter Games. Her sit-ski teammate Oksana Masters earned two medals, a silver and a bronze.

Evan Strong

2. The new sport of snowboard cross was a chance for Team USA to reaffirm the sheer American-ness of this sport. Led by Evan Strong (above), the US men swept the podium, and Amy Purdy brought home a women’s bronze, with two teammates right behind her in fourth and fifth places.  

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Opening Guns, Closing Accounts

Paralympic torch at the closing ceremony

Two weeks ago, the Sochi 2014 Paralympic flame was extinguished, dramatically, in a bowl of ice. The Paralympic flag was handed over to South Korea, the next host for the Winter Games. 

The 2014 Games began under a cloud that was eerily reminiscent of the past.  In the 1980 Summer Games, the US withdrew its athletes from competition in protest of the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan. America was joined by Japan, West Germany, China, Canada, and other nations. 

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