2018 Olympics Review
The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics have come to a close, and there are plenty of record-breaking and awe-inspiring moments from this year’s games. Team USA finished fourth overall with a total of 23 medals: 9 gold, 8 silver, and 6 bronze. The three leaders are Norway, Germany, and Canada. Norway and Germany earned 14 gold medals each, and Canada earned 11.
Team USA Snowboarding has taken the world by storm, securing four gold medals, a silver, and a bronze. The four gold medals were earned by Chloe Kim in Ladies’ Halfpipe, Jamie Anderson in Ladies’ Slopestyle, Redmond Gerard in Men’s Slopestyle, and Shaun White in Men’s Halfpipe. Redmond Gerard became the first Winter Olympics medalist born in the 2000s, the first American gold medalist in the 2018 Winter Olympics, and the youngest American to medal in a snowboarding event. Amazingly, he was placed in dead last, until his final run that earned him gold with a score of 87.16.
Other USA gold medalists include David Wise in Men’s Ski Halfpipe, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins in Women’s Cross Country Skiing, Mikaela Shiffrin in Women’s Giant Slalom Alpine Skiing. Team USA’s eighth gold medal was won by the Women’s Ice Hockey team against the Canadians. Gold medal number nine was brought in by the Men’s Curling team.
The American Figure Skating Team earned a bronze medal. There were high hopes for the USA in figure skating solo events. Maia and Alex Shibutani earned a bronze in Ice Dance for their beautiful performance to a Coldplay mix. “Quad King” Nathan Chen was considered a top gold medal candidate, but had a disappointing performance in his short program that left him in 17th place. However, Chen nailed his freestyle program and finished the games in fifth place.
Among the notable foreign competitors are the four men who placed before Chen, Japanese gold and silver medalists Yuzuru Hanyu and Shoma Uno, Spain’s Javier Fernandez who earned bronze, and Boyang Jin of China. Having also won gold in the 2014 Sochi Games, Hanyu is now a two time olympic gold medalist, despite concern that he would be unable to compete in the 2018 Olympics due to an ankle injury just a few months beforehand. Javier Fernandez is the first Spaniard to bring home a medal in Figure Skating. Boyang Jin is the first skater to ever land a quad lutz-triple toe loop combination in international competition.
Other historical firsts include the participation of a Nigerian Women’s bobsled team, the first ever African bobsled team. These three incredible young women were originally track athletes who began training for bobsled a mere 15 months prior to the Pyeongchang games. Yun Sung-bin earned South Korea’s first medal ever earned in Skeleton while sporting his famous iron man helmet and earned the title Korea’s Skeleton Emperor after his gold-medal victory. The Skeleton Emperor expressed his excitement in being able to share his passion and make it more popular in Korea.
This year’s Olympics faced questions of sportsmanship regarding the banning of Russia from the games. Although athletes not involved in the so called “doping scandal” were allowed to compete under the Olympic flag as Olympic Athletes from Russia, the ethics of the Olympics were questioned concerning the safety of athletes and true goals of the Olympics. The Olympics are reviewing policies to help ensure that offending countries are properly punished and are making attempts to negate the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Officials also hoped that the United marching of North and South Korean athletes under a united flag may lead to more favorable relations with North Korea. This was certainly a major step for South Korea. South Korea has put on a successful games and should be congratulated for the several firsts that occurred on their soil, such as the first drone-show used in the opening ceremonies.
This year’s games did not disappoint, and team USA is looking forward to more medals in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo as well as the 2022 games in Beijing. The 2020 mascots will be chosen by elementary students voting on their favorite designs in an effort to raise interest and support for the Olympics in the younger generation. For the first time in history, two Summer Olympic host cities were decided at the same time; Paris will host the 2024 games and Los Angeles will host the 2028 games. We look forward to more historic firsts in the games to come!