One of the reasons for the optimism is that American athletes had success in newer additions to the Olympic program in action-style sports. Sage Kotsenburg started by winning the first medal event of the Sochi Winter Games — the men's snowboard slopestyle. (Associated Press photographs)
In figure skating, also a source for medals over the years, the U.S. received its first Olympic gold medal in ice dancing with a historical feat by Meryl Davis and Charlie White but failed to win any medals in the men's, women's and pairs events.
J.R. Celski of the United States crashes out in a men's 500m short-track speedskating quarterfinal at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Celski, expected to be one of Team USA's short-track stars, garnered one silver medal.
Canada forward Benn Jamie reacts after scoring a goal in front of USA goaltender Jonathan Quick of a men's semifinal. Neither the women's nor the men's hockey team was able to rise from silver medal performances in Vancouver.
Track dryers go along the front stretch during a rain delay in the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)