The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are almost near completion with the Closing Ceremony taking place this Sunday. The second week of competition has delivered even more spectacular performances, and it has been difficult for us to choose our favorite storylines. Here is a recap of some of the biggest and most surprising results from Week 2 in South Korea:
U.S. Women’s Hockey is Golden Again
The number 4 has long been significant to the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey team. Their arch-rival Canada won 4 straight Olympic gold medals starting in 2002. This time around in Pyeongchang, the U.S. aimed to turn the tide and start a new gold medal streak of their own. Thursday’s gold medal game between the two hockey superpowers capped off an exciting Olympic tournament on the women’s side and ended in glory for the Red, White, and Blue. The Americans led 1-0 after the first period before Canada pulled ahead by a single goal heading in to the third. Following a crucial equalizing goal, the U.S. outlasted Canada in an overtime shootout to claim its first gold medal since 1998 and cast aside the demons of Canada’s comeback win four years ago in Sochi.
Photo Finish in Cross-Country Skiing Leads to Historic U.S. Victory
Since the beginning of the Winter Olympics era, Scandinavian countries have traditionally owned the cross-country skiing events. The Pyeongchang Games have been no exception as Norway’s dominance on skis has pushed it to the top of the medal count. On the flip side, the United States going in to Thursday had not won any medal in cross-country skiing since 1976 and never on the women’s team. Everything changed in a big way when Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall timed their moves perfectly to outlast the Norwegian and Swedish teams to win a truly historic gold medal for the United States in the Women’s Team Sprint. Is this the beginning of a new era for U.S. cross-country skiing at the Olympics? Stay tuned to find out in Beijing in four years’ time.
Krueger Brings Home First American Short Track Medal Since 2010
Since legendary American short track speed skater Apolo Ohno retired, the United States had quietly experienced a medal drought at the Olympics since 2010 in Vancouver. In Pyeongchang, however, that drought came to an end when John-Henry Krueger earned the silver medal in the 1000-meter event. The final was chaotic as several skaters collided before the finish. Krueger stayed clear of any danger, though, to comfortably finish second behind Canada’s Samuel Girard.
Lindsey Vonn wins Bronze in Her Last Olympic Downhill Event
Though she is widely known as the greatest American female skier in history, Lindsey Vonn has enjoyed and endured a long career full of victories and difficult injuries. Vonn missed out on the 2014 Sochi Games, and her goal in Pyeongchang this time around was to return to the podium. She did just that in her marquee Downhill event by finishing third to win the bronze medal. Vonn, who has traditionally displayed a serious demeanor during competition, let her emotions run free on the podium as she soaked up the moment. These Olympics are expected to be Vonn’s last, and one last medal ensures she goes out in style.
Shiffrin Bounces Back to Earn Silver in Super Combined
These Winter Olympics have been very up and down for 22-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin. She began her quest for multiple medals by striking gold in the Giant Slalom only to experience a setback just a day later in the Slalom, her best event, where she finished fourth. Shiffrin’s decision to bypass the Downhill event in order to rest for the Super Combined on Thursday paid off as she battled her way to a silver medal to end her Olympics on a positive note. Although Shiffrin had initially hoped to take home more than two medals, her performances showed the world that she has grown to be far more than just a one-event specialist in alpine skiing. Look for her to raise the bar even higher four years from now in Beijing where she will attempt to add more Olympic medals to her growing collection.
It’s a 1-2 Finish for the United States in Men’s Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe
One of the more attention-grabbing headlines of the 2018 Winter Olympics has been the United States’ domination on the halfpipe in both snowboarding and skiing. The Men’s Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe final took place on Thursday and once again the Americans put on a fabulous show to earn a 1-2 finish on the podium. Defending Olympic champion David Wise overcame malfunctioning equipment on his first two of three runs to score an astounding 97.20 on the third to re-capture gold while his teammate Alex Ferreira scored a 96.40 to claim the silver medal. It was the type of display that reinforces how far ahead the United States is when it comes to extreme winter sports.
American Figure Skater Chen Stuns with Record-Breaking Long Program
Figure skating experts, fans, and even Nathan Chen himself would likely not hold back in describing the American’s terrible start to his Olympics last week. Following multiple costly errors in both his team and individual performances, Chen, considered a pre-Games medal contender, did not shy away from critiquing himself and keeping things honest with the media. However, any talk about Chen’s weaker early skates was silenced after his incredible and record-breaking long program that saw him jump from 17th place to an impressive 5th in the final standings. Chen successfully landed a barrage of quads, six of them in fact, while making only one small mistake to record the highest long program score in history. It was a cheerful ending to Chen’s first Olympics, and he can leave Pyeongchang with confidence as he looks ahead to Beijing in 2022.