Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY SportsOCHI — A week's worth of competition suggests America's finest athletes are succumbing to the Olympic pressure.
Some of the team's biggest names -- Bode Miller, Shaun White and Kelly Clark — have failed to deliver in the games' biggest events.
Clark proved that point again Wednesday in the women's halfpipe, where the four-time Olympian and heavy favorite crashed on her first run and made subtle errors on her second, settling for bronze.
Deja vu to her performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
"I didn't land one run in practice all night and fell first run in the contest, so to be able to land my last run, last person to go in an Olympic final was a huge achievement for me," said Clark, who has landed on the podium in 28 of the past 34 contests since Dec. 2010. "That wasn't my cleanest, best run I've ever done, but for me that was my best tonight and it landed me on the podium and I'm thankful."
In women's halfpipe, at least, USA salvaged gold: Kaitlyn Farrington won the event in her first Olympic Games.
In other marquee events, however, USA's hope of again topping the medal count has been harmed, perhaps irreparably, by an inability to match pre-Games expectations.
• Bode Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist – with three coming in 2010 – entered the men's downhill final having aced his way through training runs, blistering the course in Krasnaya Polyana. But he struggled with the flat light of the final, finishing eighth.
• Overwhelming favorite Hannah Kearney was trying to become the first free skier in Olympic history to win consecutive gold medals, but a tricky bump in the moguls course prompted bobbles in each of her three runs, pushing her down to bronze.
"Bode told me that he was really nervous," said Austrian Matthias Meyer, who took home a surprise downhill gold, "but I was looking forward to the race, and I think that was an advantage."
• Shani Davis was chasing history in the men's 1,000 meter speedskating event, vying to become the first American male speedskater to claim gold in the same event in three consecutive Olympics. And with just a top-three finish, Davis would have tied Eric Heiden for the most medals by an American male skater.
Instead, he finished eighth.
"There's no excuse. I just didn't have the speed I've always had," Davis said. "I still have total trust and belief in myself. I've done well in World Cups leading up to the Olympics. I did the best I could possibly do; it just wasn't good enough."
A common refrain this week.