Sochi Superlatives: From Norway’s curling pants to Bob Costas’ eyeball

February 24

The 17-day-long Sochi Winter Games came to an end Sunday with Canada winning gold in men’s hockey — the last of 98 Olympic events that showed off all the strange and amazing things humans can do on snow and ice. To recap our Olympic fixation over the past two-plus weeks, we handed out medals for some other podium-worthy moments. Congrats on the bronze, Bob Costas.

BEST DRESSED

1. Johnny Weir. The figure skating analyst brought his “A” game on a daily basis. He even made a literal fashion statement — wearing his hair in a “traditional Ukrainian braid” in support of the people in Kiev.

2. Norway curling team. The team’s style is so transcendent that “The Norwegian Olympic Curling Team’s Pants” has its own Facebook page.

3. Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe. The 55-year-old six-time Olympian — Mexico’s lone representative in Sochi — knows how to stand out on the slopes. The Alpine skier wore a mariachi-inspired race suit.

BEST SAVE

1. Russia. The Russians took a lot of heat when one of the five Olympic rings failed to open during the opening ceremony. But they mocked their mistake in Sunday’s closing ceremony: A group of dancers set to form five Olympic rings instead formed four, drawing laughs from the crowd at their own expense.

2. Gus Kenworthy. The American won silver in slopestyle skiing, and he also deserves a medal in animal-rights advocacy. He pledged to save a bunch of stray dogs after reports surfaced that the cute puppies in Sochi were being euthanized.

3. Bob Costas. The NBC sportscaster seemed to be losing his battle versus pink eye. As the infection spread, he had to step away from the TV studio. But this is Bob-freaking-Costas. Did you really think the 5-foot-7-inch broadcasting behemoth would succumb to a little conjunctivitis? Costas fought back to return last Monday night.

BEST AWWWW MOMENT

1. Canadian cross-country coach. Of course it’s Canada that wins the nice-guy award. After Russian Anton Gafarov crashed, Canadian ski coach Justin Wadsworth showed gold-medal worthy sportsmanship by coming to the rescue and replacing Gafarov’s broken ski.

2. Shaun White. The American didn’t medal, but he couldn’t have done a better job exhibiting the Olympic spirit. After qualifying for the halfpipe final, he hopped a fence to spend some time with a couple of cancer survivors who made the trip to see White as part of the Make-a-Wish Foundation’s party in Sochi.

3. Bode Miller. After becoming the oldest medalist in Alpine skiing history, the 36-year-old broke down in tears during an NBC interview while reflecting — at the persistence of a reporter — on the loss of his brother.

BIGGEST LETDOWN

1. Russian men’s hockey team. Alex Ovechkin entered the Sochi Olympics as the games’ biggest rock star and left as the host nation’s scapegoat after a loss to Finland in the quarterfinals left Russia without a medal, again, in men’s hockey.

2. Shaun White. The American snowboarder pulled out of slopestyle to focus on the halfpipe, only to finish fourth in the event he won in back-to-back games.

3. U.S. Speedskating/Under Armour. Were the athletes to blame or were faulty suits the reason for a lackluster American showing in speedskating?

BEST MEME

1. Ashley Wagner. The American figure skater showed off an array of unique facial expressions … and the Internet couldn’t get enough.

2. Wolf gag. Kate Hansen, of the U.S. luge team, posted a video online of what appeared to be a wolf walking down her hallway. It turned out to be a hoax, produced by “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and the U.S. luge team was “not happy with the incident.”

3. #SochiProblems. There were plenty of moments that qualified as Sochi problems on Twitter, and one of the most memorable was when U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn got locked in a bathroom and used his “bobsled push training” to break out.

BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE

1. Julia Lipnitskaia. The 15-year-old’s Russian teammate won the gold in women’s figure skating, but it was Lipnitskaia whose popularity soared after a stunning performance in the team competition.

2. Sage Kotsenburg. The American snowboarder is quite a personality (he once said “stoked” 14 times in a 22-minute news conference) and worth a Twitter follow. A meat company made his wish for an Olympic medal made of bacon come true.

3. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. The broadcasting one-two punch of Weir and Lipinski will stay in the spotlight and critique fashion at the Oscars for “Access Hollywood.”

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