As the Sochi Olympics come to a close, it’s certain these games will be remembered for many reasons—some bad (read: #SochiProblems), but thanks to the stellar performances from the dedicated winter athletes, mostly good.
When fighting to earn a win for your country is involved, you can count on all performances being exciting and thrilling, but a few this year stood out as truly spectacular.
Here are the 8 best moments from the Sochi Olympics.
1. Meryl Davis and Charlie White finally win gold
The American ice dancers have a long-standing rivalry with Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir—they’re training partners and even share the same coach—but it was the Canadians who came out on top in Vancouver, with Davis and White taking silver. But this time around, it was the Americans’ turn, when they not only won the U.S. its first ice dancing medal, but also received the highest score ever given out in the sport of ice dancing.
2. The U.S. Men’s hockey team beats Russia in an epic shootout
Despite being only the quarterfinals, a lot was riding on the line for the men’s hockey team when they squared off against the Russians in a game people dubbed “Miracle 2.0.” (Even Putin showed up to watch!) The game went to an overtime shootout, and hockey phenom T.J. Oshie took the final six shots in a row, until a goal finally slipped in, to win the game for the U.S.
3. Bode Miller gets bronze, oldest Olympian to medal in Alpine
At 36, Miller’s bronze medal in the thrilling super-G event, makes him the oldest ever Olympic alpine medalist. Sochi proved to be more about Miller’s impressive skiing tenure, since the games will likely be his last. His Olympic career has spanned over 12 years, and Miller has won six medals.
4. Bob Costas triumphantly returns to Sochi
After a nasty eye infection kept him from anchoring the games for six days, Costas finally returned for the last week, to the delight of fans everywhere. As one Internet meme put it, “The Olympics without Bob Costas is like Mad Men without Don Draper.”
5. The U.S. men sweep the Slopestyle podium
Americans Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, and Nick Goepper swept the Slopestyle podium, making it only the third time in Olympic history that the U.S. has ever swept a winter podium. The three were also credited with bringing an easygoing “spring break” vibe to the mountain during their race.
6. Julia Mancuso becomes the most decorated American female alpine skier
After taking bronze in the super-combined event, Julia Mancuso won her fourth career Olympic medal, making her the most decorated American female alpine skier—no one else has won more than two medals.
7. Italian Ice Skater gets bronze, steals hearts over happiness with bronze.
After underwhelming performances in Torino and Vancouver, Italian skater Carolina Kostner almost gave up on skating altogether. However, she stuck with it, completely rebuilt her program, and it paid off—she triumphantly took home bronze in the free skate in Sochi.
8. Olympic Skiers pay tribute to Sarah Burke
Sarah Burke was only 29 when she tragically died two years ago after a training crash in Park City, Utah. Burke was one of the pioneers of the women’s freeski halfpipe event. Before the event in Sochi, the halfpipe volunteer workers made a heart formation, and pointed to the sky in a touching gesture to honor Burke. The three winners on the podium also honored Burke by pointing to the sky after they won their medals.
What was your favorite moment from the Sochi Olympics?