These games began with a stunning opening ceremony comprised of the usual dances and demonstrations sharing the culture and history of the host country but this year it did much more. Dazzling drone displays and a surprise unification between North and South Korean teams dominated the news Feb. 9 worldwide. The advanced technology is commendable and the political move is interesting but the focus in America thankfully shifted to sports and the events to come.
Team USA earned gold for a shocking nine events. These include Women’s Giant Slalom in Alpine Skiing, Women’s Team Sprint Free in Cross Country Skiing, Men’s Curling and Men’s Ski Halfpipe in Freestyle Skiing. Women’s Ice Hockey pulled through in the last play for the gold and team USA absolutely killed it in Snowboarding for four events including Men’s Halfpipe, Men’s Slopestyle, Women’s Halfpipe and Women’s Slopestyle, earning gold medals in each one.
Team USA earned silver for eight events, which were less impactful than the gold in rankings but still immensely impressive, increasing the overall medal count regardless. These include Women’s Alpine Combined in Alpine Skiing, Women’s Bobsleigh, Men’s Ski Halfpipe in Freestyle Skiing and Men’s Ski Slopestyle in Freestyle Skiing. The excitement came in Men’s Singles in Lug and Men’s 1000m in Short Track Speed Skating as well as Men’s Big Air and Women’s Big Air in Snowboarding for their tight run races and wildly skilled performances which barely missed the top spot.
Team USA earned bronze for six events. One was Ladies Downhill in Alpine Skiing but more widely talked about and more gracefully captivating was the simply majestic Ice Dance featuring the Shibutanis (siblings Alex and Maia) and Team Event in Figure Skating. This year, the Team Event was sickeningly stimulating with beautiful performances by Adam Rippon, the Knierems (husband and wife Christopher and Alexa) and Mirai Nagasu. Women’s Ski Halfpipe in Freestyle Skiing, Women’s Halfpipe in Snowboarding and an exhilarating run in Women’s Team Pursuit in Speed Skating managed to achieve more bronze medals for the Americans as well.
Outside the many medals earned and records set in Bobsleigh and Luge events, memorable moments from the 2018 Olympics Winter Games include when Mirai Nagasu landed a triple Axel in the Team Event in the Olympics (making her the first American woman to do so), Chris Mazdzer and his silver medal in Men’s Singles Luge (earning team USA its first ever medal in that event), Shaun White earning the 100th gold medal for the United States in the Winter Games for his run in the Men’s Halfpipe, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins who won the United States its first medal (a gold one at that) in Women’s Cross Country Skiing for the Team Sprint, and the U.S. Women’s Hockey team who team beat out their Canadian rivals for Team USA’s first gold in the event since 1998.
Having returned after a fireworks filled closing ceremony with performances from notable K-pop groups such as EXO. Team USA not only brought back many amazing medals and records but attended with the biggest team in Olympic history from Pyeongchang with an impressive final count of 244 athletes (109 women and 135 men).