Time was, as in most of the time until recently, that the US figure skating champion stood on top of the world. Between 1948 and 2010, American men and women won 49 individual global titles plus 14 Olympic gold medals, by far the most of any nation. This quadrennium, though, has been uncommonly barren for the Yanks, who next month figure to miss both the men’s and women’s podiums at the Games for the first time since 1936, when Sonja Henie was everyone’s darling.
Not that the Stars and Stripes will remain folded in a drawer in Sochi. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the reigning world dance champions, are favored to make history as the first US gold medalists at Olympus, and their colleagues should win a medal in the inaugural team event. But the country that once produced Buttons and Albrights and Jenkinses and Boitanos and Yamaguchis and Kwans on a gilded assembly line hasn’t been turning out super soloists.