SOCHI, Russia -- The United States didn't strike gold at the Sanki Sliding Center, but it made a lot of history.
From Erin Hamlin's first-ever American medal in singles luge to Steven Holcomb's drought-ending bobsled runs, the sliding sports accounted for some of Team USA's most memorable moments in the Caucasus Mountains.
"Dreams are a scary thing, because there is always a chance you won't accomplish them," said Steve Langton, who won bronze in both the two-man and four-man bobsled events. "Then there are days like these that make it all worth it."
The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation won six medals at these Games, more than any other American team besides the U.S. Skiing Assn., which won 17 medals but had more than six times the events.
With Langton as his brakeman, Holcomb ended two 62-year droughts here, becoming both the first American to win a two-man medal since 1952 and the first U.S. pilot to medal in both the two-man and four-man event since those Helsinki Games. In addition to Langton, Holcomb's four-man crew included Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz.
Four years ago in Vancouver, Holcomb became the first U.S. driver to win gold in the four-man event in 62 years.
"It's a strange coincidence," Holcomb said. "Maybe I'll go to Vegas after this and bet everything on 62."
Holcomb, 33, indicated he may compete in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.
"I love what I do and I don't want to get a real job, so I may stick around a couple more years," he said.
The U.S. women's bobsledders also etched their place in history here as Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams won silver, and teammates Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans took bronze. Their results marked the first time the United States had won multiple medals in the event.
In taking silver, Williams also became just the third woman to medal in both the Winter and Summer Games. A former sprinting star who only joined the sport seven months ago, Williams won gold in the women's 400-meter relay at the 2012 London Games and won a silver medal in the 100-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Games.
"I didn't come here to make history," Williams said. "I came to help Team USA, and I happened to make history in the process."
Williams also joined track star-turned-bobsledder Lolo Jones in becoming the ninth and tenth American athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games. Jones, who finished 11th, said Williams' performance would be her greatest memory of these Olympics.
Jones and Williams would not commit to returning to bobsled next season, while Evans said she planned to take a break from the sport to train as a heptathlete.
The United States also won two skeleton medals thanks to strong performances from silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace and bronze medalist Matt Antoine. Antoine's medal makes the United States the only country to complete the medal set in men's skeleton, having now won gold, silver and bronze in the event.
Pikus-Pace announced her retirement after the race, and Antoine said he had not decided whether to compete in 2018.
On the luge track, Erin Hamlin slid into the history books as the first American to win an Olympic medal in a singles event. Hamlin said she hoped her bronze medal would raise the profile of the U.S. luge program, which long has been considered the poor sister to the European dynasties because of its inferior funding and obscure existence.
"Luge isn't the biggest sport at home," Hamlin said. "Hopefully this gives it a boost, I'm happy to pave the way to the future."
Twitter: @stacystclairCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun