God Save Great Britain
While nothing will ever beat the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which miraculously transformed my perpetually grumpy home nation into a country of giddy Olympic enthusiasts for approximately three weeks. But Team GB proved they were still capable of making history in Sochi. Jenny Jones made sure of that by giving Great Britain their first ever Winter Olympics medal on snow by taking the bronze in slopestyle, all while being the oldest competitor in the group. The press in the U.K. is particularly taken with Jones and the laundry list of jobs she took before full-time snowboarding sponsorship: a chalet maid, a stint in a donut shop, working in a bar, and in a cardboard factory. Jones’ victory is part of Team GB’s best medal haul ever at the Winter Olympics, with the grand total of four. It’s far off from the USA’s 27 medals, but quite impressive considering the last time was took home that many it was 1924. That was 90 years ago. — Lucy Westcott
The Olympics is about abandoning the usual headache-inducing political trappings of the real world in favor for sportsmanship and competition on a very base, physical level. Who can run (on ice with fancy shoes) faster? Who can jump (off a cliff wearing pieces of special wood) higher? Without question Canada performed better than almost any other country, finishing third in golds, fourth in overall medals, and first in your heart.
Admit it. You cried a little when Alex Bilodeau embraced his brother after winning gold. Your heart grew three sizes when the Canadian cross country coach helped a Russian replace a broken ski so he could finish a race in front of his home country. There is some hope for the future, you said, when Gilmore Junio dropped out of a speedskating competition because he thought his teammate, Denny Silverman, gave his country a better chance to perform. Junio was right: Silverman won silver, and then carried his teammate into the closing ceremonies on his shoulders. Canada produced enough television-ready, pull at your heart strings genuine moments of real feeling, to run a two-hour primetime special. Or at least fill a decent Buzzfeed listicle. Canada dominating hockey and curling in both men's and women's competition was the delicious icing on the "We're the Best" cake that was Sochi. It's expected to happen, but almost never does, and so these Olympics were special. — Connor Simpson
Learning to Love Hockey
I'm from Florida, where hockey is as foreign as sane courtroom jury decisions. And yet every four years I find myself entranced by Olympic hockey. It's not just a show of patriotism; the speed, toughness, and stick skills were all so impressive the entire tournament that I found myself watching the Finland-Sweden match just on its own merits. Despite this, as soon as the Olympics ends I'll likely go back to changing the channel when hockey comes on ESPN. But for these past two weeks, the men's and women's hockey battles were prime TV, an awesome show of the fast-paced, commercial-less, technical talents of the NHL. Canada, I now understand why you have such crazed fans.— Eric Levenson