SOCHI, Russia -- They all came for medals. All of the athletes of the Sochi Games wanted to take home highlight reels that they could carry forever.
Some competitors accomplished those goals over the past 2½ weeks in southern Russia. But for every Olympic dream fulfilled, there was devastating disappointment. It's as if Newton's law met Shaun White at the halfpipe.
Here's a sport-by-sport look at the ups and downs of the 2014 Winter Olympics:
Highs: Andrew Weibrecht and Bode Miller did it in Vancouver four years ago. To do it again in Sochi in the super-G was an even bigger boost for the American ski team. Weibrecht won the silver. Miller, 36, tied for the bronze to become the oldest Alpine skier in history to medal.
Lows: Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway withdrew from his final two races after a disappointing start for one of the world's most dominant skiers this season. Svindal, who won three medals in Vancouver, cited allergies and fatigue.
Highs: By finishing first in biathlon's mixed relay, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway became the most decorated athlete in Winter Olympics history with 13 medals.
Lows: Four-time Olympic medalist Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle had a positive drug test for what she said was an inadvertent use of a banned substance in a dietary supplement. The positive test was just the latest blow to the usually strong German team.
Highs: Steven Holcomb ended a 62-year drought for the United States by earning a bronze medal in the two-man sled despite straining a calf muscle early in the competition. He added a bronze in the four-man Sunday.
Lows: Germany won gold in the two-man in Salt Lake City in 2002, Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010 but finished only eighth in Sochi. The Germans also won four-man gold at four consecutive Olympics since 1994 before getting the silver in Vancouver. The Germans were shut out in Sochi.
Highs: Sweden's Charlotte Kalla came from well back to catch Finland and Germany to win the women's 4x5-kilometer relay. She started the anchor leg with a 25.7-second deficit. Also, Marit Bjoergen of Norway won her third gold medal in Sochi by winning the 30-kilometer mass start Saturday.
Lows: Norway finished fifth in the 4x5 relay, the first time the Norwegians had lost a major race at that distance since 2009. "It's great for Sweden and Finland, but when you have bad skis it's hard," Norway's Heidi Weng said.
Highs: Canada swept the sport with the brooms. In an Olympic first, the nation won gold medals in men's and women's curling. The men won their third in a row whereas the women ended Sweden's streak of two consecutive gold medals. "We like to pump ourselves up, and if it takes a little house music and Red Bull to do that, we'll do that," curler Ryan Fry said.
Lows: Just south of Canada, things didn't go so well. The U.S. men finished ninth, as they did in Vancouver. The women were last. "We had high hopes and aspirations for the teams, but unfortunately we hardly saw an improvement over the previous Olympic Games," said Derek Brown, director of high performance for U.S. curling.
Highs: Maddie Bowman will get her parking space at Sierra-at-Tahoe after taking home the gold medal in the new ski halfpipe event. She joined South Lake Tahoe neighbor Jamie Anderson, a slopestyle snowboarder, as Olympic champions in Sochi. (Sierra-at-Tahoe's Hannah Teter finished fourth in the snowboard halfpipe.)
Lows: John Teller, a Mammoth Lakes auto mechanic, went out quickly as America's lone representative in skicross. Teller fell trying to make a pass late in the first elimination heat. "I had the inside and tried to set it up on that last bank, but the snow was soft," he said. "I tried to commit the ski, but then it was game over."
Highs: While Russian elegance was on display at the Iceberg Skating Palace, perhaps the most heartwarming story belonged to Italy's Carolina Kostner. After two disastrous Olympics, the five-time European champion gave up on skating and returned to school. Then she realized how much she loved the sport and did it for herself instead of for Olympic gold medals. At 27, Kostner proved it can still be done beautifully, winning the bronze medal. "For me, that medal is gold," she said.
Lows: All the talk about misguided judging that led to the stunning victory by Adelina Sotnikova of Russia over reigning champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea. Sotnikova, 18, was ninth at last year's world championships but outperformed a tentative Kim on technical merit.
Highs: Canada's women scored two goals late in the third period and then added the game-winner in a 3-2 overtime victory to stun the United States for its fourth consecutive gold medal. Three team members equaled a Winter Games record of four consecutive gold medals by biathlete Alexander Tikhonov of Russia and speed skater Claudia Pechstein of Germany.
Lows: After Russia's men were stunned by Finland 3-1 in the quarterfinals, coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov faced an angry mob of reporters. "Well, eat me alive right now," Bilyaletetdinov said. "You'll eat me and I'll be gone."
Highs: Germany remained king of luge by winning all four gold medals. Felix Loch repeated as singles champion, only the third athlete to accomplish the feat. One of the others is Georg Hackl, now coach of the Germans. The other is Armin Zoeggeler of Italy, who earned a bronze in Sochi, his sixth Olympics.
Lows: Canadian coaches complained that Russian officials fiddled with the track in the team relay event. The Russians won silver while Canada was fourth. The Canadians had three fourth-place finishes in the four luge events. "Canada was silver at the top, but the further we went down, the slower we got," coach Wolfgang Staudinger said. "It's always hard to prove, but I'm long enough in the business that I can tell you when people were dropping a half second, that's not normal."
Highs: Norway is Nordic combined nation, having introduced the sport more than a century ago. After failing to medal in their homemade event in Vancouver, the Norwegians regained their footing by winning two of three gold medals.
Lows: The Americans left Sochi medal-less after a promising time in Vancouver with four medals. Todd Lodwick, 37, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., retired after his sixth Olympics.
Highs: Vic Wild of White Salmon, Wash., won two gold medals in slalom races -- for Russia. Wild, 27, switched countries in 2011 when he married Alena Zavarzina, who won the bronze in the women's parallel slalom. "Russia is the country that's given me an opportunity to win a medal," Wild said. "If I was still riding" for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, "I'd be back home."
Lows: Shaun White came to Sochi hoping to win two gold medals. He departed with none. America's biggest name in the Sochi Games first withdrew from the new slopestyle event. Then he crashed and burned in the halfpipe while trying to become the first American man to win three consecutive titles in a Winter Olympics event. White finished fourth, which one U.S. teammate called "a gift."
Highs: Kamil Stoch of Poland became the third man to win the normal and large hill titles in one Olympics, joining Finland's Matti Nykanen (Calgary 1988) and Simon Amman of Switzerland (Salt Lake City 2002 and Vancouver 2010). Three days after a large hill training crash left him with a bleeding nose, Stoch won the event to complete the double.
Lows: Japanese teen Sara Takanashi had won 10 of 13 World Cup events before finishing fourth in the historic debut of women's ski jumping in the Olympics. "I tried to think as I always do, but something went wrong," she said. "I have realized my mental weakness." While the placing represented a disappointment for the 17-year-old sensation, the overall event was one of the Sochi Games' highlights.
Highs: Noelle Pikus-Pace's leg was shattered in 2005 by a runaway bobsled. She finished fourth by one-tenth of a second in 2010 at the Vancouver Games. But the Utah sledder who came out of retirement got the silver medal in Sochi.
Lows: Katie Uhlaender of Vail, Colo., found herself in the same position as Pikus-Pace four years earlier: a hair from a medal. "Four hundredths," Uhlaender said. "I'm just having trouble processing." Uhlaender, 29, who had been cleared to compete only two weeks before the Olympics because of a concussion, was fourth by .04 of a second.
Highs: Dutch skater Ireen Wust won five medals to underscore the historical haul by the Netherlands. The "Orange Crush" won 23 of 32 medals, the most dominant performance by a country in one Winter Olympics sport.
Lows: The American team leaves Sochi without a medal for the first time since 1984. Blame has been placed on new, untested racing suits designed by Under Armour, the fact the team did altitude training for an event held at sea level and overall dysfunction of the governing body.
Highs: No matter whom he represents, Viktor Ahn of Russia still is the best. Ahn won four medals in Sochi -- three gold -- to tie the retired Apolo Ohno for the most career Olympic medals in short-track speedskating. Ahn also won four medals in 2006 for his native South Korea.
Lows: In two semifinal races, the men's favorites in the 5,000-meter relay were gone. Canada, which had won the gold medal in three of the previous four games, crashed to end its bid. Moments before, South Korea's Ho-Suk Lee interfered with American Eddy Alvarez, sending both skaters into the sideboard. South Korea was disqualified, allowing the Americans to advance to the final, where they finished second for their only medal of the Sochi Games.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.
Among the highlights and lowlights from the Winter Games:
Shaun White, top left, failed to become the first U.S. man to win the same event in three consecutive Winter Games.
San Jose's Polina Edmunds, top center, finished ninth in figure skating.
Sage Kotsenburg. top right, won a gold medal for the U.S. in men's snowboard slopestyle.
Bode Miller, bottom left, won his sixth Olympic medal and became the oldest medalist in Alpine history at age 36.
Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, bottom right, won his second gold medal by helping Canada win the hockey title.
Sochi bids adieu to the games in a closing ceremony that offers a salute to Russian culture.