Olympics takes primetime as U.S. goes for the gold

By James Scalia
On February 14, 2018

Photo courtesy of Digital Spy, Flickr

The 2018 Winter Olympics is currently taking place in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, where a long list of competitions are set to take the big stage including figure skating, snowboarding, bobsleigh and ski jumping just to name a few.

This is the twenty-third official Winter Olympics, since the array of organized sports only occurs every two years. Ninety-two nations are competing along with an athlete mark around 3,000 people.

Hockey is always a popular game at the Olympics and many countries are associated with the sport, such as the U.S. and Russia, who shockingly both lost on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Slovenia won against the U.S. and Slovakia was able to knock out the always consistent Russian Olympic Hockey Team, both splitting score of 3-2.

The four teams will swap places, as the U.S. will be battling with against Slovakia and the Olympic Athletes from Russia will be facing Slovenia in the next round of this tournament.

Shaun White was able to pull off a dramatic hat trick of gold medals in the snowboard halfpipe on Tuesday, Feb. 13. White was in a close competition with Japanese teenager Ayumu Hirano, who received another silver medal, his first coming from the Sochi Games in 2014.

Unfortunately for Hirano and Scotty James, a snowboarder from Australia, they both washed out, giving White a chance to strike for first place. He took advantage of the opportunity, and finished with a score of 97.75, taking home his first gold medal since 2010.

After the race, White told The Guardian, “I knew I did a great ride and I was proud of that and I could walk away with my head high, but when they announced my score and I’d won, it crippled me.” White’s medal also fittingly was marked as the U.S.’s 100th medal in Olympic history.

Figure skating was also a marquee event for China, as Sui Wenjing and Han Cong stole first place for China’s first pair of gold medals since 2010. It was a heavy-hearted performance, as Sui was forced to undergo a serious surgery on her feet in 2016.

She had a grueling rehabilitation scheduled and Wenjing had to learn how to both walk and skate again. Due to this, the pair missed most of the season during their 2016 campaign. Sui told NBC Olympics.com, “Even when I was putting on my makeup, I was already crying. I just felt very nervous. But after we got on the ice and finished our routine I realised there’s all there is to it.”

The Winter Olympics will be continuing through Feb. 25 with more events to be involved and many other Olympic champions to be named. The drought between the Super Bowl and March Madness will be filled with exciting competition in South Korea.

 

jscalia@ramapo.edu

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