17 days, 2925 athletes, 90 countries, 102 events, 306 medals.
The world has been fixed on the PyeongChang 2018 games and they have not disappointed, throughout the games we have been treated to ups and downs, thrills and spills, winners and losers. The games have been an exceptional display from everyone involved and the host country will be very proud of their display both in competition and in the background. The closing ceremony was a spectacular way to finish the games and saw the handover of the torch to China as all eyes now turn to Beijing 2022, but memories of PyeongChang will last forever.
The biggest talking points?
Where do we start? So many amazing things have happened in the games, we were treated to 23 Olympic Record performances 10 of which were World Records! 30 Countries won medals at the games, Norway finished at the top with 39 medals, 14 Gold, 14 Silver, 11 Bronze. But as we’ve seen throughout the games it isn’t all about winning, some of the athletes are so happy to be there it doesn’t matter where they come! This was most prominent in the Cross Country Skiing where Tongan Pita Taufatofua and Mexican German Madrazo crossed the line a long time after everyone else but received the two biggest cheers of the event with Madrazo waving his countries flag and being carried on the shoulders of other athletes after crossing the line.
The celebrations of German Madrazo were spectacular but some of the reactions from medallists were even better, every medal was celebrated with cheers and jumps for joy and the occasional tears. But these three were our favourites to watch, the 2-man Bobsleigh was where we saw Olympic Spirit at it’s best as Germany and Canada celebrated together after sharing Gold in a dead heat! Czech athlete Ester Ledecka had a reaction that many of us would have when she won the Alpine Skiing Super-G Gold Medal by 0.01 seconds, she stood there frozen with her mouth gaping open as she refused to believe her time was correct. Her reaction when winning Gold in the Snowboard Slalom was more traditional as she was already the world number 1! David Wise of USA won Gold in the Mens Skiing Halfpipe and celebrated his medal by bringing his wife and two kids onto the podium with him, a moment none of them will ever forget.
It wasn’t all about the celebrations though and fashion grabbed the headlines on more than one occasion. Moustache’s are as popular as ever and the world was treated to some spectacular efforts, including Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova who draws on her patriotic moustache for good luck before each event! The Norwegian Curling team caught the eye with their spectacular range of trousers, the love hearts for Valentines day may have clashed with their tops but were worn proudly. Skeleton athletes made the most of their chance to show off their fashion sense with some magnificent helmet designs, animals, brains, skeletons hand painted murals and superheroes were all on show and certainly got people talking.
How about South Korea?
South Korea had an amazing games, the athletes were hugely successful and the 123 athletes competing for South Korea won a total of 17 medals! 5 Gold, 8 Silver and 4 Bronze!
Speed Skating is where the Korean athletes are known to perform at their best and they did not disappoint, Lim HyoJun got the games started for Korea winning the first Speed Skating Gold in the Men’s 1500m Short Track, he later added to his own tally with a Bronze medal in the 500m Short Track missing out to Hwang Daeheon who won the Silver. In the 1000m Short Track Seo Yira won Bronze as the men celebrated medals in each of the individual Short Track events. The Women skaters were not to be beaten though as Choi Minjeong won the 1500m Gold medal and the relay team also took Gold in the 3000m Relay.
Long Track skaters continues the success, the male skaters again won medals in each individual distance, Cha Min Kyu won Silver in the 500m, Kim Tae-Yun won Bronze in the 1000m and Kim Min Seok won Bronze in the 15000m, the team skaters also took Silver in the Men’s Team Pursuit. The women skaters were less successful but Lee Sang-Hwa won 500m Silver before Kim Bo-Reum won Silver in the first ever Mass Start event, Lee Seung-Hoon did one better in the Men’s Mass Start and ended the Speed Skating events as they started with a Gold for Korea!
It wasn’t all about the Speed Skaters though as Korea received medals in 4 other events, the biggest and first medal outside of the rink came from Yun Sungbin. The self titled Iron Man donned his Tony Stark helmet and flew down the Skeleton track breaking a track record on his home track and winning by the biggest ever distance in an Olympic event. The final day saw Korea add to their success in the sliding sports and won a shock Silver in the 4-man bobsleigh event! Won Yunjong, Jun Junglin, Seo Youngwoo and Kim Donghyun came into the event ranked 50th overall but huge dedication to their sport and desire to win on their home track saw them fly down the track and dead heated with one of the German teams for a Silver medal!
In another surprising result, Lee Sangho won the countries first Olympic Medal on the snow! Ranked 10th overall in the world Lee Sangho was not expecting to be standing on the podium in PyeongChang but after a photo finish in his Semi Final he was guaranteed a medal and praised the home fans who were going wild in the freezing temperatures cheering him on the whole time.
The Korean athletes who have come out of the games with huge international fame are the Curling team, although they don’t know it yet. Kim EunJung, Kim KyeongAe, Kim SeonYeong, Kim YeongMi and Kim Chohi, or the “Garlic Girls” as they are now fondly known, won Silver in the Women’s Curling. They came into the event with no expectations of a medal but after beating the favourites and World Number 1 Canada, all eyes were on them. They lost to Japan in the early stages of the tournament but won every other game until missing out on a Gold against Sweden in the final match. Despite missing out on Gold they are however ranked number 1 in the world. The team agreed on a complete media blackout and switched off their phones before the games and hasn’t spoke to the press once. This means when they finally switch their phones on they will discover the whole world knows who they are and their affectionate nicknames; Sunny, Steak, Pancake, Annie and ChoCho are now known around the world.
All eyes to Beijing
We can now relax and take a breather from the Winter Olympics and let our minds warm up again. The 23rd Olympic games have come to an end the torch has been handed to China, we have 4 years to wait until the next Winter Olympic Games where we hope the Korean Team can improve on their hugely successful games in PyeongChang.
Before that though there is still the Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang from March 8 to 18, we are treated to the best disability athletes in the world competing in Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Hockey, Snowboarding and Wheelchair Curling! 45 Countries will be represented and 240 Medals are up for grabs, finger’s crossed the Korean team continue their Winter Olympics Success!
Written by Imran Ali