PyeongChang, South Korea is home to the spectacle we are able to see every 4 years called the Winter Olympics. We’ve seen the highs and lows that these competitors go through including frightening accidents on the luge course involving Emily Sweeney and heart breaking wins and losses for women and men’s hockey. With 21 medals so far, the US is currently sitting 4th in total medals behind Norway, Germany and Canada, respectively.
Chris Mazdzer made American Olympics history by coming in second during the men’s singles luge taking home the silver medal, marking the first time the US has medaled in this event. The United States also took home the bronze medal on February 12th in the team figure skating event. Staying with the events taking place on the ice, both the Men and Women’s hockey teams have something to prove throughout the remainder of the tournament. The Women’s team hockey team starting off hot with convincing victories over Finland and OAR (Russia). Their single loss came from the Canadian women’s team in an extremely close contest. Since the US Women finished group play with a record of 2-1, they automatically got a bid to to skip the entire quarterfinal round of games and moved directly to the semifinals where they defeated Finland by a score of 5-0. This put them in a rematch of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi where they lost the Gold Medal game to Canada. The Gold Medal contest between the USA and Canadian women’s teams was an absolute thriller. Down 2-1 in the 3rd period, Monique Lamoureoux scored on a breakaway to knot the game up at 2 goals a piece, setting up one of the most incredible finishes of all time. After a scoreless Overtime period, the game went to a shootout to determine who was going home with the Gold Medal. Going back and forth in the shootout, it all came down to Jocelyn Lamoureux, sister of Monique, who put the match away with one of the most stunning finishes ever witnessed. Pure class and swagger was shown on the last shootout goal by Jocelyn to take the Gold Medal back to America, getting revenge on Team Canada who spoiled the medal back in 2014.
The Men’s hockey team started off against Slovenia going up 2-0 after 2 periods of play with goals from Brian O’Neill and Jordan Greenway. With this being the first time in a while that NHL athletes aren’t allowed to compete in the Olympics, the US Men’s team is quite inexperienced and it showed during the remainder of the game, where they allowed 2 goals to Slovenia in the 3rd period, forcing the game to Overtime. It didn’t take the game long to finish Overtime with Slovenia scoring within the first minute to finish the game, handing the US Men’s a heartbreaking loss. The men were able to bounce back against Slovakia with a 2-1 victory, with help from Ryan Donato who had 2 goals. Following up their win against Slovakia, the men’s team got demolished by the OAR (Olympic Athletes of Russia) by a score of 4-0. Beating Slovakia again in the next round (5-1), the men’s team moved on to face the Czech Republic in an elimination game, where they were defeated by the score of 3-2. As stated before this was the first time in recent memory where NHL athletes weren’t able to compete in Olympic hockey. Hopefully the men’s team use this as a learning experience so they can come back strong and compete diligently at the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
The United States absolutely dominated the slopes with help from athletes like Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the gold in the women’s giant slalom and the silver medal in the women’s slalom. We saw veterans like Shaun White take home gold again in the men’s halfpipe final and young guns like Chloe Kim (17) and Red Gerrard (17) both winning the gold medals in women’s halfpipe and men’s slopestyle, respectively. The gold medal for women’s slopestyle was taken home by the United States with Jamie Anderson coming through clutch not once, but twice, also winning the silver medal in the snowboarding big air event. Not only did the US take home the gold medal in women’s halfpipe snowboarding thanks to the marvelous performance by Chloe Kim, but also won the bronze medal in the same event thanks to Arielle Gold. David Wise and Alex Ferreira both took home gold and silver medals, respectively, in the men’s ski halfpipe. One of the craziest finishes to date occurred in the cross country skiing team sprint, where Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins took home the first gold medal for the US in the specific event. The finish was absolutely remarkable, finishing .19 seconds ahead of Team Sweden.
With the Winter Olympics basically completed, finishing up this Sunday February 25th, we have seen some absolutely astonishing performances and edge-of-your-seat finishes. The Olympics is truly one of the most exciting times of the year, especially since we only get to view this wonderful spectacle on such specific occasions. Even though the United States is not going to finish on top of the final medal count, the athletes put in a tremendous amount of work and should truly be proud of themselves. Next up on the Olympic calendar are the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, followed up by the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.