Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The 2018 Olympics in review

The 2018 Winter Olympics have come and gone: here are some of the most notable outcomes.

Figure Skating: What didn’t happen in figure skating this Olympics? American Nathan Chen was the first to land five quads cleanly during an Olympic Games and the first to attempt six (his failed quad flip landed with enough rotations, but he lost balance and touched the ice on his way down). His free program was enough to put him at fifth place after a mediocre short program that featured his signature flaws — falls on clutch jumps and a lack of confidence. Adam Rippon stole the hearts of the audience with an up-tempo dance number, clean spins and barbs aimed at Mike Pence in his interviews. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu won his second consecutive gold medal (no thanks to a recently injured ankle), becoming the first man to do so since Dick Button almost 70 years ago. He was joined by fellow Japanese skater Shoma Uno and Spain’s Javier Fernández on the podium (silver and bronze, respectively).
American Marai Nagasu nailed a triple axel in a team event, becoming the third woman in Olympic history to do so during competition. She fell in her free program and couldn’t make up the points to medal. The gold went to a stunning set of performances by 15-year-old Alina Zagitova of Russia. All of her jumps were in the second half of her program — and if you thought that was impressive, go watch her nail five back-to-back triples in practice.

Skeleton: British Olympian Lizzy Yarnold didn’t just compete: she crushed the sport (an unlikely feat, considering that skeleton is done by sliding headfirst and belly-down an icy incline at speeds of around 80 miles per hour). She won her second consecutive gold in skeleton after almost withdrawing from the competition because she was sick. Before that, of course, she’d taken time off from the sport to go back to school and get married. She might secretly be Wonder Woman, but I’ll table my suspicions for later. Laura Deas, her countrywoman, brought home a bronze medal, while Germany’s Jacqueline Loelline’s won silver. South Korea’s Yun Sung-bin was the first Republic of Korea representative to earn a medal in a sliding sport, and he did so with authority. He won gold (with a comfortable lead of more than a second and a half) in skeleton.

Pairs Skating: Not to be confused with ice dancing (which is more like traditional ballroom dancing, if ballroom dances happened with knives strapped to your feet), the pairs skating world was shocked at the record-breaking routine by German pair Aljona Savchenko (a five-time Olympic participant) and Bruno Massot. Their free skate, with surgically-perfect lifts and dizzying throws, launched them into a first-place finish after their short program had settled them into a fourth-place slot. Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze behind the Chinese team after completing the first-ever successful quad throw jump in an Olympics.

Ice Dancing: The Shibutani siblings (or Shib Sibs, a terrible monicker that’s taken over the Internet) nailed their skates and won America a bronze medal. But that’s the least spicy news from ice dancing. Canadian gold medalists Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue won with a routine to Moulin Rouge, beat their own World Record in the free skate, and became the most decorated skaters in Olympic history with five Olympic medals each (in both individual and team events). The French silver medalists’ routine to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” ended better than expected after part of Gabriella Papadakis’ dress snapped and her partner, Guillaume Cizeron, attempted to help her cover up as best as possible as they finished out their routine.

Women’s Hockey: On this night, as on all nights, we thank the hockey gods that Hilary Knight plays for the Americans. (Forward for the Boston Pride and two-time silver medalist, she unofficially placed third in the National Hockey League’s Skill and Accuracy Competition this year.) She led the U.S. team to a close loss to Canada early in the games and later beat Canada for the gold.
The men’s hockey team was far less thrilling, facing an early loss to Russia and an even earlier loss of its players to the NHL (who did not let players miss the season for the Olympic games this year, effectively slashing the Olympic contenders for the United States). Canada’s men’s team won bronze, which was understandable given the competition, but shocking considering it’s, well, Canada.

Half Pipe: 17-year-old American snowboarder Chloe Kim famously tweeted her way through a gold medal on the half pipe, talking about her ice cream cravings and wry commentary on her sudden fame. She’d already secured gold before her last run and still landed back-to-back 1080s (three spins before landing down, if you don’t want to do the math). As if in direct contrast to her win is returning legend and now three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. White’s sexual harassment allegations from 2016 dominated his press coverage, but moderators and White himself shut down the discussion to focus on his sport.

Post Author: Raven Fawcett