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Breaking down the top 10 most important medals in U.S. Winter Olympics history

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Geoff Calkins

 |  USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

 

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Now that Shaun White has won the 100th  American gold medal at the Winter Olympics, here’s a list of the 10 that mattered most:

10. Men’s Hockey, 1960: Overshadowed by the Miracle on Ice, this was nearly as big an upset.

9. Dan Jansen, 1994: Fell in both his races in the wake of his sister’s death in 1988, came up empty in 1992, fell again in his first race in 1994, then won gold in the 1000 meters, his very last race.

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8. Shani Davis, 2006: Davis became the first African-American to win an individual gold when  he won the 100 meters speed skating event.

7. Brian Boitano, 1988: Could go with Scott Hamilton or Dick Button here, but Boitano defeated Brian Orser in the gripping Battle of the Brians.

6. Shaun White, 2018: At 31, won his third gold, 12 years after his first, in what some thought was a teenager’s sport.

5. Bonnie Blair, 1994: Became the first American to win golds in three Winter Olympics when she won the 500 meters speed skating in 1994 (the fourth of her five golds).

4. Dorothy Hamill, 1976: Won gold in figure skating while inventing a move (the Hamill camel) and revolutionizing American hairstyles.

3. Eric Heiden, 1980: Won the 10,000 meters to complete a breathtaking sweep of all five men’s speed skating events. 

2. Peggy Fleming, 1968: Won the only U.S. gold at this Olympics with a performance that captivated the country and represented a rebirth of American figure skating.

1. Men’s Hockey, 1980: It really was miraculous.

Honorable mention: Kristi Yamaguchi, women’s figure skating in 1992; Dick Button, men’s figure skating in 1948 and 1952; Scott Hamilton, men’s figure skating in 1984; Charley Jewtrew, 500 meters speed skating in 1924; Gretchen Fraser women’s slalom in 1948; Bill Demong, Nordic combined in 2010; Jimmy Shea, skeleton in 2002; Vonetta Flowers, bobsled in 2002; Apolo Ohno, 500m short track speed skating in 2002; Tommy Moe, downhill in 1994; Picabo Street, Super G 1988.

Contributing: Christine Brennan; David Wallechinsky.

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