The Winter Olym-picks

Meredith Lou ‘20

Following the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, spectators are now able to reflect on the many highlights it brought. With over 92 competing nations and 2,925 total athletes, the largest in the Winter Games’ history, the 2018 Winter Olympics were full of record-breaking and history-making moments. As with every Olympic Games, while there were a number of devastating losses, there were also several surprising wins.

In spite of frigid temperatures, the Pyeongchang Opening Ceremony displayed an intricate show of lights, projections, music, and dance, and presented the much-anticipated Parade of Nations. The American delegation of 242 athletes was the largest in Winter Olympics history, with Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines cheering them on. Athletes from Russia marched behind an Olympic flag without a flag bearer, in light of their doping scandal in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The nation hosting the Olympic Games usually walks out last; however, North Korea and South Korea exhibited a refreshing image of peace by walking out together behind a flag of a unified Korea, all dressed in white puffer jackets symbolizing peace. North Korea and South Korea also joined forces and formed one unified Korean women’s hockey team.

Norway came out of the Pyeongchang Games victorious, boasting a whopping total of 39 medals. In second was Germany with 31 medals, Canada finished third with 29, and our beloved United States finished in fourth overall with 23 medals. Norway and Germany not only beat out their competition in the medal count, but both also managed to sweep the podium in events. Norway dominated the podium in the men’s 30 km skiathlon event in cross-country skiing, while Germany reigned in the men’s individual large hill/10km event of Nordic combined.

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games brought many new fan favorites into the spotlight, many of whom defied the norms of being a front-runner. Chloe Kim, a seemingly normal 17-year-old and self-proclaimed “girly-girl” from California, tweeted about breakfast in between runs in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe finals and later casually landed two rare 1080s in her third run, earning her a near-perfect score of 98.25 and a gold medal for USA. It seems that adolescent victories were common for the United States as 17-year-old snowboarder Red Gerard also won gold in the men’s snowboarding slopestyle. His day got off to a rough start after waking up late the morning of finals and losing his jacket, forcing him to settle for his friend’s very large coat. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, also known as the “Shib Sibs” from their YouTube vlog channel, won the audience’s hearts, both on and off ice, through their brother-sister relationship, and eventually won bronze in ice dancing. Also in the spotlight was ice skater Adam Rippon, who quickly garnered attention online for his fierce routines. The internet praised him even more for his pride in being a gay figure skater and for his digs at Vice President Pence throughout the whole duration of the Olympics. One of his more famous jabs was his rejection to meet the vice president while in South Korea, to which Pence claimed never happened but many news outlets confirmed.

American athletes also set numerous records at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Returning Olympian Shaun White, seeking to redeem himself after the Sochi Olympics, won his third gold medal in the snowboarding halfpipe: the first man ever to ever accomplish such a feat. David Hilferty ‘21 describes how “watching Shaun White realize what he just did after his final run was quite possibly the biggest highlight of the Olympics.” Additionally, Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins became the first American cross-country skiers to score gold by scoring first in the women’s team sprint finals, winning the title of the first American women to ever win an Olympic cross-country medal. To continue with this first-time theme, the United States men’s curling team triumphed against Sweden and brought in America’s first ever gold medal in curling.

And so another of the exhilarating Olympics passes, and it certainly was not one without excitement; the world yet again anxiously waits for the next Olympic Games. As Maya Mastro ‘20 eloquently puts it, “The Olympics single-handedly brings the world together, and there is nothing else out there that has the same effect.”