Were you following recent Olympic Games that just happened in PyeongChang, South Korea? What surprised you the most & what touched your heart? The biggest sporting event happens only once in every two years, so it can’t be missed. Read on if you want to get a summary of the best moments.
Alina Zagitova & Evgenia Medvedeva
Rivals on ice but friends in real life. Everybody had their eyes on these two phenomenal Russian figure skaters who absolutely stole they show and proved to be the best. Both are being coached by Eteri Turberidze — ‘iron lady’ of the ice. Eteri has also coached Sochi 2014 teen sensation Yuliya Lipnitskaya, who whoever, quickly disappeared and announced her retirement after the Games. Eteri did not give up and raised a new generation of incredible skaters. Alina Zagitova is only fifteen and she became the youngest gold medallist of PyeongChang2018 Olympic Games. She was also the first to bring gold to the Olympic Athletes of Russia. Fun fact: Zagitova was nameless for a year until her parents decided to name her «Alina» after watching Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Zagitova mentioned that meeting Kabaeva will be a dream come true! Her friend and rival Evgenia Medvedeva definitely made one of her dreams come true. Eighteen-years-old Russian figure skater was known to be a huge anime fan. She is an absolute favorite of Japanese audiences, especially after she skated to the music of famously known Japanese series — Sailor Moon. After arriving to South Korea, Evgenia quickly picked up another trend — KPOP. Korean Pop is a huge deal not just for Korea — it’s gaining its popularity all over the world. For example, one of the bands called BTS has millions of views on Youtube & has 9.5 million of followers on Twitter. Their fans call themselves the ‘ARMY’ & support their idols very lovingly. Another famous group is called EXO, just like BTS it is a boy’s band and in one of her interviews Evgenia mentioned that they inspire her to skate, making all the EXO fans love her. However, the dream of Olympic gold medal was not meant to be for Evgenia this time. She won silver and everyone was shuttered to see her tears after strong ‘Anna Karenina’ passionate performance. The biggest intrigue is if the girls remain friends after the Games. Both girls are very young and the chances of them making it to Beijing 2022 next Winter Games are high. On the other hand, so many new talents can appear on the horizon in four years. In the meantime, Alina, who is known to be a huge fan of animals (she has dogs and even a chinchilla back at home in Izhevsk) is about to receive an exciting gift — an Akita dog. People in the Japanese prefecture of Akita have offered one of the dogs to commemorate her victory. Zagitova says the dog will be called «Masaru,» which means «victory» in Japanese language.
A Canadian freestyle skier Kingsbury won a gold medal. But what made his gold so memorable?
At age ten, Kingsbury printed off a colour picture of the Olympic rings that he found on the internet. On it, he scrawled in French: «Je vais gagner», which translates into «I will win». Mikaël taped the image on the ceiling above his bed. He stared at it for more than half of his life just before going to sleep whenever he stayed at his childhood home with his parents. Twenty-five-year-old & already a legend in his sport, Kingsbury won! The gold medal was truly long-awaited — Mikaël finished a surprise second behind fellow Canadian Alex Bilodeau at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. «I’ve won a silver medal at the Olympics. I don’t have anything to lose here.» — said Kingsbury before his race in PyeongChang and he didn’t. A few spectators who watched the race also spotted Mikaël’s parents cheering for him and feeling proud of their determined son. Julie Thibaudeau, Mikaël’s mom, tweeted that same colour picture with the Olympic rings, above Mikaël’s bed, but with small corrections. «My son, I made the correction…» — she said. The sign now says «You are number one.»
First time at the Winter Games
For six countries, it was the first ever participation in the Winter Games! Participants from Ecuador, Malaysia, Eritrea, Kosovo, Nigeria & Singapore proudly marched during the Opening Ceremony with their flags, representing their countries at such a huge event. Ecuador’s only competitor was cross-country skier Klaus Jungbluth Rodriguez, a thirty-year-old cross-country skier, who learned how to ski professionally only about a year ago! In 2016 Jungbluth sought and received the help of the Ecuadorian National Olympic Committee to create a ski federation for Ecuador, which allowed him to compete for the country. Simidele Adeagbo from Nigeria is the first skeleton racer, she started practicing the sport just six months ago. «I am very excited for the Olympics but I think the bigger opportunity here is the journey I am taking,» she told Olympic Channel. «Everything that I do is historic in nature.» And who can argue with that? Certainly, these athletes left their trace in Olympic history and hopefully created positive role models for people from their countries, who wanted to dive into Winter sports but were unsure or afraid.
Speaking about ‘winter newcomers’ it is hard not to mention this guy. Back in Rio 2016 Olympic Games he made a dazzling appearance at the Opening Ceremony. Oiled and shirtless, he walked carrying his flag of his native country Tonga. No wonder such walk went viral & people remembered Pita not for being taekwondo athlete but for something else.
In December 2016, Taufatofua posted a video announcing his plans to train and compete in cross-country skiing. He began learning form and technique by watching YouTube videos of professional races. Ultimately Taufatofua succeeded in qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in the Iceland race on the final day of the qualification period. Pita made it to another Olympics becoming Summer and Winter Olympian! Taufatofua was again the flagbearer for his country in the 2018 Winter Olympics Parade of Nations. Despite the temperatures being below freezing — and telling the media before the ceremony that he would not walk shirtless — he again wore nothing but a traditional ta’ovala mat wrapped around his waist, with an oiled chest and torso. This guy knows how dress to impress, we give him that. But aside from that he works at Sandgate House training homeless children to develop independent living skills, has an engineering degree and is working on his master’s degree. Way to go, Pita. See you in Tokyo2020?
But let’s get to the results and records. Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen is the name you should remember. Why? A five-time Olympian, her five Olympic medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games brought her total number of medals up to fifteen, the most by any athlete (female or male) in Winter Olympics history (!). Legendary fellow Norwegian cross-country skier Ole Einar Bjørndalen had to come second after Marit. She is ranked first in the all-time Cross-Country World Cup rankings with 112 individual victories. Well, this is it about her. She is a Champ.
Seventeen-years-old Chloe Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal. The first woman to win two gold medals in snowboarding at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Kim was PyeongChang 2018 favorite in snowboard, and without a surprise took the gold. Kim is a Korean American, being a second-generation American; her parents are immigrants from South Korea. Kim still has extended family living in South Korea, where she competed this year. Before winning, Chloe was really nervous and tweeted about it, adding: «Oh and I also had 2 churros today and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro.» Not a bad advice from an Olympic gold medallist who seems to have very sweet teeth. In another tweet she was craving some ice-cream while hanging out on top of a snowy mountain in PyeongChang, South Korea. «Could be down for some ice cream rn,» she wrote before going on to post a score of 95.50 in her second run of the day. The Internet, of course, went crazy about Chloe’s obsession with sweets and after Chloe won she was offered churros & ice-cream on TV set of Today show. Sweet treats on us, Chloe, well deserved! We bet that gold medal feels as sweet.