Olympiads often come with their fair share of controversy, and the Russian city of Sochi -- the host for the 22nd Winter Games -- drew more than its fair share.
But aside from the security concerns that may now seem over anxious, accommodation complaints made in main by attending media, warm weather that failed to melt the venue's snow, and domestic laws that arguably ran contrary to the Olympic spirit, the sporting occasion that unfolded was worthy of much celebration.
From a spectator point of view the new venues -- whether at the temperate coast or in the crisp mountain zone -- provided fantastic stages for the world's finest winter sports athletes to compete for the glory of becoming champion.
Just under 3,000 competitors from 88 nations vied over 17 days in 98 events, providing moments of drama and destiny that captured the imagination and settled in the collective memory.
Below are my 10 highlights from the Games. Have your say in the comments box at the bottom:
1. Canada's hockey haul:
In a poll carried out on the CNN live blog, 42% of you voted for this as your favorite sporting moment of Sochi 2014, and there will be no argument against such wisdom here.
Facing a two-goal deficit against their neighborly rivals the United States, and with just four minutes left of the third period, Canada refused to accept defeat. Brianne Jenner got her team back into the game before Marie-Philip Poulin sensationally equalized. An enthralling overtime then saw Poulin strike again in a power play to seal a 3-2 victory. It was an epic comeback to win gold, but it didn't end there.
Just three days later the men's side -- after inflicting their own defeat on the U.S. in the semifinals -- crushed an out-classed Sweden 3-0 to defend the title they won in Vancouver. Canada's men have now topped the podium in three of the past four Olympics (2002, 2010, 2014), which by anyone's standards is a great achievement.
2. Dutch dominance:
The Adler Arena is a world-class facility worthy of hosting the best long-track speed skaters from across the planet, but the thoughtful designers suffered from a key oversight: If the winners' podium had been located more closely to the Dutch team area it would have saved a lot of bother.
So dominant were the orange-clad gliders that even if every other nation had formed one team, the Netherlands would still have nearly doubled their medal tally. What started with an opening-day clean sweep in the men's 5,000 meters was bookended by victory in the men's team pursuit, as the team set an Olympic record in the last race of the Games.
The Dutch haul included eight golds, seven silvers and eight bronzes, accounting for 23 of the 30 individual medals up for grabs. Truly staggering.
3. An the victor:
Russia hoped they'd picked up an ace card when South Korean short-track skater Ahn Hyun-soo, a three-time gold medal winner from the Turin Games, gained his citizenship in 2011.
Discarded by the nation of his birth for being too old and injury prone, he promptly changed his name to Victor An and plotted revenge.
In a remarkable run in Sochi, An drew cheers from his adopted nation and boos from Koreans by winning the men's 500m, 1,000m and the 5,000m relay too. He also picked up a bronze in the 1,500m event. In doing so, An took his career gold tally to six, became Russia's first short-track champion at 1,000m and also is the first person to win gold in all four short-track events in Winter Olympics history.
We can only wonder what the South Korean team thought of that.
4. Superpower showdown:
OK, so we have two hockey submissions to the list but this game was surely worth it. The former Cold War rivals, 34 years after the "Miracle on Ice," met again in the Bolshoy Ice Dome and tested the resolve of the new roof by creating an exhilarating atmosphere with this Olympic classic.
The home crowd was vociferous, partisan and passionate; especially when their side took the lead in the second. But the U.S. fought back off the ropes to equalize on the counter and then took the lead shortly after. All seemed lost to many anxious fans until Pavel Datsyuk draw Russia level.
This is when the real drama started. Fedor Tyutin thought he'd won it for his side before his goal was ruled out to America's relief. The game then went to overtime followed by a nail-biting, finger-chewing and hand-swallowing sudden-death shootout in which T.J. Oshie scored four goals from six attempts to secure the U.S. victory.
In truth, neither side played as well again.
5. Bjoergen the Great:
Norway's Marit Bjoergen told reporters in Sochi that, at the age of 33, the time may be right for her to turn her attention away from the 2018 Winter Games and towards having a family instead.