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Fourth-Place Medal

Five countries that improved the most at the Winter Olympics — and three that took the biggest dives

Mike Oz
Fourth-Place Medal
Olympics: Closing Ceremony
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Feb 23, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Maxim Vylegzhanin (RUS), left, Alexander Legkov (RUS), middle, and Illia Chernousov (RUS), right during the medal ceremony fro the men's 50km cross country free during the closing ceremony for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Fisht Olympic Stadium. (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)

Russia ruled the Winter Olympics, which is what the host country hopes for. When you have game night at your house, you want to perform well, don't you? 

In the case of the Sochi Games, Russia triumphed by a few different metrics — it had the most overall medals (33, compared to 28 for the second-place U.S.) and it had the most gold medals (13, followed by Norway with 11). 

[Photos: The best images from the Closing Ceremony]

While overall medals and gold counts are the two most common ways to measure a nation's success — and, by the way, those two lists don't always jibe with each other — here's a third way to measure Winter Olympic success. And Russia topped this list too.

The website B Podium compared the 2010 Winter Olympic results to 2014's and found that Russia is the most improved. The Russians won 18 more medals this year — and 10 of those were golds. Eighteen is more medals than all but six countries won overall.

The winners of the Winter Olympics "most improved" award:

1. Russia (+18)
2. Netherlands (+16)
3. Slovenia (+5)
4. France (+4)
5. Sweden (+4)

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(AP)

There's an opposite side of this too — the nations that took the biggest dives in the standings. Even though Team USA was second overall in medal count and fourth in golds, it was still very much on the minus side. Of course, that's more likely to happen when you win the overall medal count by seven like the Americans did at the 2010 games in Vancouver. 

Here are the bottom three:

25. Korea (-6)
26. U.S. (-9)
27. Germany (-11)

If you haven't seen it yet, here is the overall top 10 for medals from the Sochi Games. Want more? Check out the full list.

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(Yahoo Sports)

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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