The United States racked up a record 37 medals, including nine gold, at the
With the pre-Olympic
A glass-very-full view shows Team USA hauling home 52 medals, including 20 gold.
The glass-nearly-drained view shows just 22 medals, with 3 gold.
While the numbers will likely fall in between those estimates, both predictions are based on real possibilities.
You can see the evidence as the optimist and the pessimist weigh in, with the 2010 totals in parentheses after each sport:
*Alpine Skiing (2 gold, 8 medals)
Optimist (3 gold, 9 medals):
Pessimist (1 gold, 4 medals): Vonn, not the same dominant speed skier, manages a medal in downhill. (A glass-completely-empty pessimist, of course, would say she doesn’t recover in time for the Olympics.) Ligety wins GS and one other medal. With Marlies Schild fully recovered from injury, Shiffrin drops lower on slalom podium.
*Nordic Combined: (1 gold, 4 medals)
Optimist (1 gold, 2 medals): U.S. wins the team event. One of the 2010 individual Olympic medalists, Bill Demong and
Pessimist (1 medal): U.S. gets a bronze in the team event.
*Cross-country Skiing (0)
Optimist: (1 gold, 2 medals): Reigning
Pessimist (1 medal): Randall wins medal in individual sprint.
*Ski Jumping (0)
Optimist (1 gold): Sarah Hendrickson win’s the inaugural Olympic women’s jumping competition.
Pessimist (1 medal): Hendrickson takes second to Sara Takanashi of Japan.
*Freestyle Skiing: (1 gold, 4 medals)
Optimist (2 gold, 7 medals):
Pessimist (2 gold, 4 medals): Kearney and one of the pipe guys win. Deneen and other pipe guy get medals.
*Snowboarding (2 gold, 5 medals)
Optimist: (3 gold, 7 medals):
Pessimist (3 medals): At 27 in Sochi, age catches up to White, who gets just one medal. Women get one halfpipe medal. Wescott on podium.
Optimist (1 medal): Tim Burke, silver medalist at 2013 worlds, breaks through for first U.S. medal in sport.
Pessimist (0): Same old, same old, although Burke does improve on best-ever U.S. individual finish (9th).
*Figure Skating (1 gold, 2 medals)
Optimist (2 gold, 4 medals): 2010 silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White win ice dance. Reigning champion
Pessimist (2 medals): Davis-White finish second to longtime rivals and reigning champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada. U.S. gets medal in team event.
*Hockey (2 medals)
Optimist (2 gold): U.S. men win their first title since 1980 Miracle on Ice; women take their first since 1998.
Pessimist (1 medal): U.S. men lose in bronze-medal match. Women finish second to Canada again.
Optimist (1 medal): After finishing fourth in recent world championships and 10th at 2010 Winter Games, the women get bronze – first U.S. women’s curling medal.
Pessimist (0 medals): The U.S. men, ninth at the worlds, need to make the top two in a "last-chance" qualifier in December to earn an Olympic spot.
*Bobsled (1 gold, 2 medals)
Optimist (3 medals): Elana Meyers, who won bronze as a pusher in 2010, drives to a medal this time. Steve Holcomb, reigning 4-man champion driver, gets medals in 2- and 4-man.
*Pessimist (1 medal): Holcomb can’t get out of rut he was in during second half of the 2012-13 season, but Meyers comes through.
Optimist (1 gold, 3 medals): In some order, Noelle Pikus-Pace and
Pessimist (1 medal): Either Pikus-Pace or Uhlaender makes the podium.
*Optimist (0): Erin Hamlin, the 2009 world champion on home ice, or Julia Clukey would surprise just by making the top five.
Pessimist (0): No one cracks the top eight.
*Short Track Speed Skating (6 medals)
Optimist (1 gold, 4 medals):
Pessimist (0): Burdened by lingering effects of the controversies that shredded the team last season, leaving it with no medals at the 2013 worlds.
*Long Track Speedskating (1 gold, 4 medals)
Optimist (3 gold, 6 medals): In likely his Olympic last hurrah,
Pessimist (3 medals): Davis gets a medal in the 1,000. Richardson and Bowe each win medal.