SOCHI, Russia — The numbers do not add up to a pretty picture for United States figure skating.
The U.S. skaters left Sochi with the ice dance gold by Meryl Davis and Charlie White as their only medal in the sport's four traditional disciplines, matching Team USA's lowest Olympic total since the 1994 Winter Games.
The women now have failed to win a medal at either the Olympics or World Championships since
This was the first time U.S. women have gone without medals at consecutive Olympics since 1948.
No U.S. man has finished higher than seventh at the Olympics or worlds since 2010.
U.S. pairs simply remain noncompetitive on the world scene.
Behind those dismal numbers is some hope.
Gracie Gold, 18, has established herself as a solid medal contender.
And despite a sloppy free skate that dropped him from sixth to ninth in the final standings,
"The next [four years] should be really interesting," said Gold, after finishing fourth in women's singles and doing a strong, clean free skate to help the United States win bronze in the newly created team event.
Gold fell once in the singles free skate, but even an error-free program would not have been enough to take the bronze medal from Italy's Carolina Kostner.
What of Polina Edmunds, 15, who finished ninth, and Ashley Wagner, 22, who was seventh, both of whom want to have another Olympic shot in 2018?
Edmunds clearly has tremendous physical talent. If she develops both consistency and artistry over the next four years, she could be in the mix for a 2018 medal.
Wagner, who barely missed a medal at the 2012 World Championships, has not been the same skater since her hard fall eight months later in the Grand Prix Final. She has dropped a long way in the minds of judges, on whom Wagner's two stand-up skates in the Olympic singles made only a minimal impression, leaving her 23 points from third.
Whether Russia keeps developing a seemingly endless stream of young talent without the incentive of a home Olympics will have an enormous impact on every other country's medal hopes in the next four years.
The Russians had gold and silver in pairs, gold in women's singles and the team event and bronze in ice dance. The runner-up pair and ice dance bronze medalists were both young surprises who figure to be gold-medal contenders four years from now in
Behind women's champion Adelina Sotnitkova, 17, and fifth-place finisher Yulia Lipnitskaya, 15, in singles are other young skaters who already have been impressive in senior events.
"After Vancouver, we had to sit down and analyze what was happening," said Sotnikova's coach, Elena Buyanova. "Coaches and members of the federation tried to come up with constructive criticism.
"We could not have been given better conditions — physical trainers, choreographers, medical staff. I cannot remember anything like this in my coaching life.
"You can see the results. We were able to grow a new generation of skaters in all disciplines of figure skating."