Best and worst Sochi had to offer (w/video)

  • Women's slalom medalists, from left, Austria's Marlies Schild, silver, the United States' Mikaela Shiffrin, gold, and Austria's Kathrin Zettel, bronze, pose with their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The venues were both striking and functional. The Russians made their fans happy, winning the medal count. The Americans didn't flame out.

Here's a look at some highlights and lowlights from the 2014 Winter Games that ended with Sunday night's closing ceremonies at Fisht Olympic Stadium:

Biggest winner

Winter Olympics Highlights 2.23.14


Vladimir Putin. "He really put his stamp on this Olympics," said U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst. The Russian leader promised he'd pull them off safely and efficiently, and he did. So what if he spent $51 billion and alienated both the United States and the world's LGBT community?

Biggest loser

Figure skating. The analog-era sport was already slipping in this digital age, its fans skewing older. The last thing it needed was another judging scandal. But Adelina Sotnikova's head-scratching, seemingly home-cooked victory -- five of the nine judges were from Russia and former Soviet-bloc nations -- validated all the old complaints about subjective scoring.

Best non-American athlete

Short-track speedskater Victor Ahn, who may be the first and only South Korean to defect to Russia. Ahn won three golds and a bronze for the host country. He did the same in Turin in 2006. "He's the greatest skater to ever skate," said Canadian skater Charle Cournoyer, who also skates.

Best American athlete

Mikaela Shiffrin. The 18-year-old's slalom win, punctuated by her miraculous recovery from a near-fall, was electric. Intelligent, attractive, and super-talented, the teenager should be America's next wintersports superstar.

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