Team USA: Hearts of Gold

(Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

A Sochi stray
(Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Say what you will about Americans. We may be spoiled, lazy, and unintelligent (generally speaking, of course), but you can always count on an American to stand up for the little guy. In this case, the little furry guy.

The Olympics are ripe with stories of passion, glory, and perseverance. But, there is no Olympic story that warms my heart more than the athletes from Team USA bringing home stray dogs from Sochi.

Stray dogs are common in the Olympic Village area and made headlines when the games opened. In an effort to avoid any nuisance and more likely, any embarrassment…the Russians sent out crews to capture the dogs and well, you know…

Enter Team USA.

First, we saw pictures of American freestyle skier, Gus Kenworthy, taking in a mother dog and her four puppies.

Photo: Twitter/@guskenworthy:
“puppy love is real to puppies.”

Then, American cross country skier, Holly Brooks, tweeted out this picture of snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis and her adopted pooch.

Photo: Twitter/@brooksha1:
“This Sochi Stray scored a one way ticket to the USA with @LindsJacobellis. #luckydog #justintime”

 And now, we hear several members of  the USA Hockey team have dogs living at the hotel with them and plan to bring them home.

Photo: Twitter/@A4A_org:
“Meet Sochi Jack and Sochi Junior with @dbackes42 and @shattdeuces during the @Sochi2014 with @USOlympic”

One of the dogs has even become the unofficial team mascot. From the streets of Sochi to Olympic housing…talk about a wags to riches story.

These athletes have to jump through many hoops to bring foreign dogs home and many are extending their stay in Sochi to do so. But, that’s nothing compared to what they went through to get there. Or, the unconditional love they’ll receive in return.

No matter how they perform on the slopes, at the rink, or in any of the Olympic events…these athletes have already won gold.

Team USA showed the world their hearts of gold…and won ours in the process.

And that, more than anything…makes me a proud American.