Wipeouts and Washouts: American Olympians Who Disappointed in Sochi

PHOTO: Shaun White reacts to his finish during the Mens Snowboarding Halfpipe Final on Feb. 12, 2014.

When they heard the phrase "passing the torch," losing to their younger competitors isn't quite what some of the biggest names in Winter Olympics history had in mind.

Yet over and over again in Sochi, older, more experienced U.S. athletes, who arrived in Russia carrying the hopes of their nation and the burden of defending their titles, have disappointed.

The U.S. remains in a respectable fourth place, tied with perennial winter winners Norway, for gold meals with a total of four each at the end of competition Friday. But the U.S. and Norway are also tied for the most medals overall with 13 each.

Many of those American honors, however, have not been won by name-brand athletes competing in high-profile events, like snowboarding and downhill skiing, but instead by fresh-faced lugers and freestyle skiers.

Here's a short list of those athletes under the most pressure to perform well, but ultimately came up short and will go home empty handed.

PHOTO: U.S. speed skater Shani Davis looks to the clock at the finish of the mens 1000-meters event during the Winter Olympics Feb. 12, 2014.
Mark Reis/Colorado Springs Gazette/MCT
PHOTO: U.S. speed skater Shani Davis looks to the clock at the finish of the men's 1000-meters event during the Winter Olympics Feb. 12, 2014.

PHOTO: Ted Ligety of the United States competes during the Alpine Skiing Mens Super Combined Downhill at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Feb. 14, 2014.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
PHOTO: Ted Ligety of the United States competes during the Alpine Skiing Men's Super Combined Downhill at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Feb. 14, 2014.

PHOTO: US skier Julia Mancuso finishes the Womens Alpine Skiing Downhill at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Feb. 12, 2014.
Alexander Klein/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: US skier Julia Mancuso finishes the Women's Alpine Skiing Downhill at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Feb. 12, 2014.

PHOTO: US skier Bode Miller reacts after the Mens Alpine Skiing Super Combined Slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Feb. 14, 2014.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: US skier Bode Miller reacts after the Men's Alpine Skiing Super Combined Slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on Feb. 14, 2014.

PHOTO: Shaun White reacts to his finish during the Mens Snowboarding Halfpipe Final on Feb. 12, 2014.
Paul Drinkwater/NBC /NBCU Photo Bank
PHOTO: Shaun White reacts to his finish during the Men's Snowboarding Halfpipe Final on Feb. 12, 2014.

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