By Shea Sullivan
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, came to an end on February 25. History was made by many, surprises occurred and the Olympic spirit struck the world.
Starting at the opening ceremonies, North and South Korea marched in together under a unified Korea flag for the first time since the countries have been divided. North and South Korea also competed together as one hockey team, which brought hope to both countries despite losing in the first game.
Russia walked in under the Olympic flag, not permitted to wear any patriotic colors, and they were listed as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) as punishment for doping in 2014.
Moving on to the medal count, Norway dominated the Olympics winning a total of 39 medals, the most medals ever won by a country at a single Winter Olympics, bleacher report stated.
Germany came in second, winning a total of 31 medals. Germany was expected to win the most gold medals, and they did, but Norway tied with them, both winning 14 gold medals.
Canada finished third in the medal count, winning 29 total medals, 11 which were gold. The United States finished behind Canada, winning 23 total medals, 9 gold.
Shockingly, the Olympic Athletes from Russia won 17 medals, but only two of them were gold. Those two gold medals were won in hockey and women’s figure skating.
In hockey, the United States women’s team beat Canada in a shocking upset for the first time in 20 years. The game went into overtime and the United States eventually scored in a shootout, securing the gold.
These Winter Olympics were not the best for the United States in figure skating. The U.S. only won bronze in the team event and bronze in ice dance thanks to Maia and Alex Shibutani.
However, this U.S. figure skating team broke history multiple times despite only winning two bronze medals.
Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land the triple axel at the Olympics, Nathan Chen became the first person to land five quads in a program, Vincent Zhou landed the first quad lutz at the Olympics, the Shibutanis were the first pair of Asian descent to medal in ice dance and Adam Rippon was one of the first openly gay men to win a medal in figure skating.
Yet the most history breaking story the US might remember from these is Olympics is finally winning cross country skiing gold. Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first Americans to ever win this event at the Olympics.
Snowboard big air make its Olympic debut in PyeongChang. In the men’s event, Canadian Sebastien Toutant took gold, with American Kyle Mack earning silver. American Jamie Anderson also took silver in the women’s event.
Lindsey Vonn was the favorite to take the gold in downhill skiing and win a medal in the combined event; however, it did not work out that way. Vonn finished third in downhill and was disqualified in the combined.
Mikaela Shiffrin was victorious in the giant slalom and also took home a silver in the combined event.
One of the biggest shocks of the Olympics was made by the Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka. Ledecka became the first athlete to medal in two different sports at the Olympics, but even more astonishing, she won gold in both events: super-G and snowboarding parallel giant slalom.
Curling caught the world’s attention at these Olympics. Curling has been a medal event in the Olympics since 1998, but it never seemed to catch attention until it arrived in PyeongChang.
The United States has not won a gold in only four events at the Winter Olympics, curling was one until these Olympics. The men’s US curling team defeated the favorites, Sweden, in the gold medal match. Sweden, however, won in the women’s event with South Korea taking silver.
The host country historically does better at their own Olympic, and South Korea definitely did. This was their most successful Olympics, winning 17 medals, 5 of which were gold.
However, the Olympics are not just about winning medals. They are about the world putting their difference aside and coming together, even if that means playing just one hockey game.