By Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea have officially come to a close. With these Olympics came joy, excitement, controversy, sadness and a joying of intense competition.
As for the United States, these Olympics got off to a very slow start, but they picked up the pace as the Olympics continued. Jamie Anderson would pick up the first United States gold medal inthe Ladies’ Slopestyle on Feb 12. She would also win another gold medal in the Ladies’ Big Air competition on Feb 22.
One of the biggest stories of the Winter Olympic games this year was Chloe Kim. At the age of 17, Kim became the youngest woman to ever win an Olympic snowboarding medal at the Olympics. The big story behind Kim’s victory is that she was just as good to compete in the Sochi Olympic Games, but she was unable to compete due to her very young age, even though she did compete in other events. The gold medal victory was also special due to her roots from South Korea, so it was an overall memorable win for Kim, and most likely the first of many.
Snowboarder Redmond Gerrard would follow suit by winning another Olympic gold for the US. Gerrard, another 17-year-old sensation, finished 1st in the Men’s Slopestyle and 5th in Men’s Big Air. The story behind his win is quite hilarious, because Gerrard almost overslept the morning before because he stayed up too late the night before. Gerrard joined Kim by becoming the youngest male snowboarder to ever win a gold medal at the age of 17.
Superstar Shaun White would once again wow the Olympic audience pulling off another gold medal victory, but it didn’t come without controversy. White was pried with questions about his sexual allegations from 2016, and White declined any questions about the allegations, “Honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff.”
22-year-old skier Mikaela Shiffrin would pick up a gold and a silver medal for the United States in impressive fashion. This was already her second Olympic Games, and she will soon follow with more medals to come.
Arguably the biggest wins of all for the United States came from the Women’s National Hockey team and the Men’s Curling team. Canada has dominant in Women’s Olympic hockey since it first began in 1998. The United States won the 1998 Women’s Hockey Tournament in Nagano, Japan, but after that the Canadians dominated the sport, not losing one game, until this year. After losing 3-2 to Canada earlier in the tournament, the American women would meet the Canadians again in the final, and it was a spectacular game that would end in the United States snapping Canada’s streak via shootout. The women celebrated after years of coming so close, and they are finally on top for another 4 years.
The United States Men’s Curling team picked up their first gold medal in Olympic history, something that will be remembered by fans of the sport and Americans for years to come. Lindsey Vonn, now 33 years old would come back to the Olympic Games, likely her last and pick up a bronze medal after being out of competitive action for years after blowing out her right knee and tearing her ACL. She also won the medal after the death of her grandfather, who was one of her biggest supporters and always loved seeing her compete, and she dedicated the victory to him in likely her final Olympic appearance.
As for overall medal count, the United States finished fourth overall with 23 medals, 9 of which were gold. Norway led the way with 39 medals, followed by Germany with 31 medals and Canada with 29. The leading individual with the most medal for themselves was Norway’s Marit Bjoergen, who had 5 medals, 2 of which were gold. As for these Olympics as a whole, they were very successful. There was rarely outside controversy and each sport was very competitive. For those wondering, the next Winter Olympic Games will take place in Beijing in 2022. So, say goodbye to PyeongChang and hello to Beijing. Go Team USA and thanks for the memories.