Oodles of oohs and ughs in the Pyeongchang Games
Published 12:00 am Monday, February 26, 2018
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Wind, snow, ice or shine, the Winter Games had its share of golden moments that will forever be etched in Olympic lore.
The American men’s so-called Miracurl on Ice. Alina Zagitova. Ester Ledecka. Chloe Kim. The U.S. women’s hockey team.
There were also several not-so-spectacular performances in South Korea — and will be equally as memorable.
Russian doping. Jocelyne Larocque. Shani Davis. The U.S. men’s Alpine team.
Here’s a look at the oohs and ughs of the Pyeongchang Games:
• U.S. Men’s Curling Team: The squad won the first gold in team history by topping Sweden 10-7, giving the Americans only their second curling medal — with the first coming in a bronze-medal game at the 2006 Turin Games.
• Ester Ledecka: The star from the Czech Republic won a stunning gold in super-G in Alpine skiing and then added a snowboarding gold to become the first women to win gold in two sports in the same Winter Games.
• Alina Zagitova: The 15-year-old skater became the first Russian gold medalist of the games, outpointing her countrywoman, friend and training partner, two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva.
•Chloe Kim: The 17-year-old from Torrance, California, was one of the Olympics’ early darlings by dominating the women’s halfpipe snowboarding final and soaring to a gold medal.
• U.S. Women’s Hockey Team: They snapped a 20-year drought by beating four-time defending champion Canada for the gold. Women’s hockey also benefited in general with a thrilling six-round shootout for gold — the first in the women’s gold-medal game.
• Norway: The country set a Winter Games record with 39 medals, helped by the five won by cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen — the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time with 15 medals, and fellow cross-country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, who is just 21 but won three gold medals in four events in his first Olympics.
• Marcel Hirscher: The Austrian came to South Korea having done just about everything there is to do in ski racing — including a record six consecutive overall World Cup titles — except win an Olympic gold medal. He went out and won two golds: in the Alpine combined and the giant slalom.
• Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir: They became the most-decorated figure skaters in games history, taking gold in ice dance for the second time and helping Canada win the team event. They have five medals, including gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, silver at Sochi in ice dance and the team competition.
• Elana Meyers Taylor: The American bobsledder’s career was nearly derailed by a concussion, but she won silver in South Korea — despite a bad Achilles’.
• Martin Fourcade: The biathlete won three gold medals and, by lifting his career tally to five, became the most decorated Olympic champion in French history.
• Gus Kenworthy: The American freestyle skier failed to win a medal — he didn’t even land a run in the slopestyle final. But Kenworthy had a watershed Olympic moment for the LGBTQ community when he shared a televised kiss with his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas, at the bottom of the hill.
• Mikaela Shiffrin: No, the American skier didn’t win five medals. She didn’t even enter five events after windy weather played havoc with the Alpine schedule. But she did win a gold in the giant slalom and a silver in the combined.
• Korea’s “Garlic Girls”: The South Korean women’s curling team, whose moniker reflects the locally farmed garlic grown in their hometown, were among the breakout stars of the games during their surprising run to a silver medal.
• Russian doping: The International Olympic Committee repeatedly said that Russian athletes had been “rigorously tested,” implying they were unlikely to fail drug tests. But two of the four athletes who tested positive in Pyeongchang were Russian, including curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who had to return his bronze medal.
• Jocelyne Larocque: The Canadian hockey player summed up the frustration by her team at going home with something other than gold for the first time since the women’s event debuted in 1998 by taking off her silver medal almost as soon as it was placed around her neck. She apologized a day later, but that’s just how hockey is judged in the country that created the sport.
• U.S. Men’s Alpine Team: Not only didn’t they win a medal, they only had one top-10 finish — Ted Ligety’s fifth in the combined.
• Russian pairs/ice dance duos: They had won at least one medal in every Olympics since dance was added to the Olympic docket in 1976. But they were shut out in Gangneung.
• Nathan Chen: The two-time U.S. figure skating champion was among the pre-Olympic favorites, but ruined his chances for making the podium with a dismal short program. He rallied by hitting an unprecedented six quadruple jumps to win the free skate, but wound up fifth overall.
• Ice hockey: Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, was disappointed with the crowds at some playoff games, but also acknowledged that South Korea is not a hockey country and “the pricing was also relatively high for people.”
• Sweden men’s cross-country skiing: Always a force in these events, they failed to medal in cross-country.
• Shani Davis: The American speedskater finished seventh in the 1,000 meters and 19th in the 1,500 after declining to attend the opening ceremony after losing a coin toss to decide the U.S. flag bearer in a process he said was handled “dishonorably.”
• American biathletes: They have still never won a medal in the Olympics, and last year’s world champion Lowell Bailey wasn’t even close to the leaderboard.
• Canadian car “borrowers”: Skicross competitor Dave Duncan apologized for “poor judgment” for his role in taking a car after a night out at a bar and using it for a ride home to the Olympic athletes village. The group, which included his wife Maja and his coach William Raine, was stopped by police shortly after midnight Saturday near the village.
• U.S. Olympic Team: The Americans leave the games with 23 medals, their lowest haul in 20 years.