The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea showcased some new, amazing athletes, young and old, this year. Each Olympian fought hard and brought their absolute best to the competition, having the time of their lives and representing their countries all at the same time. Here are some moments where the world saw them shine.
1. Chloe Kim, daughter of a South Korean immigrant and U.S. snowboarder, makes history.
At only 17 years old, Chloe Kim made a name for herself after earning a nearly perfect score of 98.25 on the Women’s Halfpipe. Not only did she win gold for the U.S., but she is also the first female snowboarder in history to land a back-to-back 1,080-degree spin. Kim didn’t make this accomplishment at the 2018 Winter Olympics though — she was actually only 15 years old when she landed the trick.
Kim dedicated her Olympic performance to her grandmother, who still lives in South Korea. After winning the gold, she also thanked her father, who immigrated to the United States to live out the American Dream. He also left his job to help Kim achieve her dream of becoming an Olympic snowboarder.
Not only did Kim win the hearts of Americans by winning gold for the country, but she also went viral when she tweeted (shown above) just hours before winning the gold medal that she was “hangry” because she didn’t finish her breakfast sandwich the morning of the games. She also made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where she photobombed fan pictures with Jimmy.
2. Snowboarder Red Gerard has a wild morning before winning gold.
At 17 years old, Red Gerard is not only reminding us that not everyone is perfect, but also that anyone can achieve their dream. During the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, he snagged the United States their first gold medal, but that morning leading up to the games, Gerard had a typical teenager moment.
After a night of binge-watching “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” he fell asleep and forgot to set his alarm, causing him to wake up late. He also misplaced his official Olympic sport jacket and he ended up having to use his teammate’s jacket while snowboarding and winning gold.
His story went viral and Americans soon loved him for winning gold and showing that despite young people sometimes having irresponsible teenage moments, they are capable of incredible things, like winning gold medals.
Gerard had many more extremely relatable moments during his time in PyeongChang, like when he dropped the f-bomb on live television when he was celebrating his win and his love for burritos.
His carefree attitude and determination to win has inspired many people, but Gerard had never thought that he would be at the Olympic Games, let alone a gold medal winner. In an interview with CBS News he said, “That’s something I thought I would never be able to say in my life that I got top three at the Olympics.”
3. A beautiful, new friendship between Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy is made.
Figure skater Adam Rippon and Skier Gus Kenworthy developed an amazing friendship at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Both being two of the few openly gay men in the United States Olympic team, their friendship blossomed at the opening ceremonies. They cheered each other on at their respective events, creating the cutest friendship on the U.S. team.
Kenworthy even started to joke on social media about their friendship. He tweeted a picture of the two of them (shown above) at closing ceremonies and said, “Two weeks ago, at opening ceremonies, we met and a friendship began. Today, at closing ceremonies, it ends. @Adaripp, please stop calling me. You’re honestly starting to get v clingy and I can’t anymore.”
Their adorable and relatable friendly banter had the entire country falling in love with their bromance.
Kenworthy went through some of his own controversy during the Olympics when he shared a kiss with his boyfriend on live television. Although he did receive some backlash, he received praise for being himself and celebrating their victories at the games. He even admitted that he had no idea the kiss was being shown on television.
Both Rippon and Kenworthy hoped that being two of the first openly gay athletes at the Olympics will help future athletes feel comfortable enough to come out.
4. Russia gets banned from marching with their flag during closing ceremonies.
A big problem facing this season’s Olympics was drug use. One country under major scrutiny was Russia, where two of their athletes were under investigation for doping. Because of these allegations, the International Olympic Committee decided not to lift its ban of Russia’s Olympic team.
The country’s team was then not able to march in the closing ceremonies under the official Russian flag. The team was introduced as Team Russia and the athletes were under the name “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
The two athletes from Russia who tested positive for banned substances are Alexander Krushelnitky, a curler, and Nadezhda Sergeeva, a bobsled pilot, who wore a shirt before being tested for doping that said, “I don’t do doping.”
5. The U.S. Women’s Hockey victory.
In a historic win, the U.S. Women’s Hockey team took the gold for the first time in 20 years. The game ended in a nail-biting shootout against Canada. The final game was also on the 38th anniversary of the “Miracle On Ice,” which was a Men’s Hockey game in the 1980 Winter Olympics against the Soviet Union.
But the women of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Hockey team didn’t believe their win was a miracle, they said their gold medal was earned by “strength of skill, execution, perseverance, heart and fearlessness.”