Winter Olympics Finish In Beijing

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The big air competition took place in week two. Photo courtesy Jae Hong/AP

Nico Marvin, Sports Editor

The Winter Games in Beijing finished this week, but not before leaving a mark on the world. Medals were awarded and records were broken. During the past two weeks athletes showed true sportsmanship, and the Olympic spirit, and now it is time to look back. 

Speed Skating

The National Speed Skating Oval in downtown Beijing has been the host of the speed skating events for this year’s competition. The women’s 500 meter event has a winner with an interesting story. Erin Jackson, born in warm and sunny Ocala Florida, was the winner, and won by a slim margin of only eight hundredths of a second. Jackson pre-Olympics was a professional speed inline skater and had never competed or even trained on ice before until 2014. In a video capturing her, she was seen barely standing up on the ice, and having trouble moving. But apparently she was hooked, and in 2017 Jackson would start training full time to reach the Olympic games.

Erin Jackson wins gold in women’s 500. Photo courtesy of Ashley Landis/AP.

In the American Olympic trials disaster would strike Jackson in the final round when she would stumble for a second, and because of that she would not go on. However in true sportsmanlike fashion the winner of the race Brittany Bowe, would give up her spot to let Jackson go on to the Olympics. Now only five years after going full time, Jackson would take Olympic glory and win the gold medal. This would be a monumental win, as she would be the first Black woman to win an Olympic Speed skating medal. In the men’s 500 meter final it would be Tingyu Gao of China skating into the gold medal spot. The team pursuit competition where teams start at opposite ends of the track to catch each other finished this week. The men’s top three was Norway in first, the Russian Olympic Committee in second, and the United States rounded out the podium in third. It would be the team from Canada that would win gold on the women’s side, with Japan and the Netherlands following. 

Snowboarding 

Chloe Kim of the U.S., a huge favorite coming into the games, has delivered on winning gold. Kim won gold in the women’s halfpipe by over four points, which is a big gap between winning and losing. Ayumu Hirano of Japan won gold on the men’s side over Scotty James of Australia in second. Making a Olympic Debut this year is snowboard cross.

The big air competition took place in week two. Photo courtesy Jae Hong/AP.

The sport is where athletes race each other, not time, over jumps and other obstacles. On the men’s side Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria won gold. A day earlier the women’s cross took place, with American Lindsey Jacobellis sliding into the gold medal spot. One of the staples of the games, and certainly the poster event of the snowboard events, is the big air competition. In big air, athletes snowboard over a sizable jump, and perform a complex trick, all while trying to get as much height and distance as they possibly can. The winner of the men’s event was Yiming Su of China. Anna Gasser of Austria dominated the competition to take home gold in the women’s big air. 

 

Skiing Events

In ski jumping, where athletes ski down large ramps off a ledge then fly large distances, the men’s large hill final commenced. Ryoyu Kobayashi was number one in distance flown on the first jump followed closely by three points by Marius Lindvik. On the second jump Lindvik was able to soar down the hill and score 155.3 points, and spectators held their breath as Kobayashi started down the ramp. Kobayashi flew gracefully through the sky and touched down near the bottom of the hill. In the final round Kobayashi scored a staggering 145.8 winning silver, with Landvik flying past to the gold medal. 

In freestyle skiing, specifically the women’s aerials American Megan Nick won a bronze medal, with Mengtao Xu of China securing a gold. In the men’s big air competition it was Birk Ruud of Norway jumping to gold, and American Colby Stevenson won silver

Freestyle skiing took place in both the first and second weeks. Photo courtesy of Gregory Bull/AP.

In women’s downhill skiing heavy favorite American Mikaela Shiffrin had a disappointing result finishing in 18th place. Corrine Suter of Switzerland grabbed gold in the event, with Sofia Goggia of Italy taking silver. Clement Noel of France won gold in men’s slalom, cutting perfect turns and keeping the right amount of speed. 

Biathlon relays were the main events of week two for the competition. In the men’s 4 x 7.5 kilometer relay a dominant Norway blew away the pack to win. A distance behind France would cross the line, with the Russians right behind. Sweden took a well-deserved gold in the women’s 4×6 kilometer relay. The Russians took silver, with Germany grabbing bronze. In cross country skiing relays would be the main event in the first part of the week. Starting with the women’s 4 x 5 kilometer relay the dominant Russian Olympic Committee would win gold. The Russians would also take the men’s 4×10 kilometer relay win, and medal in both men’s and women’s sprint relays. However it would be Norway to beat the Russians in the men’s team sprint classic. The Germans would also take the Russians out of the gold medal spot in the women’s team sprint classic

Curling 

Sweden and Great Britain faced off in the men’s gold medal round. After nine rounds Sweden defeated Great Britain by one, the final score was five to four. On the women’s side it was Great Britain beating Japan by seven, winning ten to three.  

Finland wins gold in men’s medal round. Photo courtesy of Jae Hong/AP.

Hockey

In the women’s ice hockey final it would be another final between two long-time rivals. The United States would face off against their neighbors to the north, Canada. The game would be back and forth and highly competitive, but would end up with the Canadians winning by only one, with the final score three to two. On the men’s side Finland would secure gold, after beating the Russains by one, the final score was two to one. 

 

 

 

Bobsled, Luge and Skeleton 

Starting with bobsled, specifically the two man, it would be Germany making a clean sweep of first, second and third positions. Returning after 24 years would be a Jamaican team, who would finish 30 out of 30. In the famous four man event it would be Germany taking first and second, with Canada winning bronze. In luge it would  be the

Germany takes first and second in the four man bobsled event. Photo courtesy of Dmitri Lovetsky/AP.

Germans dominating yet another event winning gold in the team relay event. The German sled team dominated this year’s competitions winning multiple events, and medaling in most. The luge doubles was won by Germany, and taking silver would also be the Germans. Skeleton is where athletes go head first down the track on tiny sleds at up to 80 miles. The winner of the men’s skeleton would be Christopher Grotheer of Germany. In women’s skeleton Hannah Neise would win another gold medal for Germany. 

 

 

Figure Skating 

The figure skating events have continued in week two, and with it doping allegations. Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee has been making headlines recently but not for the right reasons. Valieva tested positive for performance enhancing drugs prior to the games, but was still allowed to compete, causing an uproar. In a tweet Adam Rippon, a former U.S. skater, called the event a “complete joke” and “not a real competition.” Countless other

The Winter Olympics finish at Beijing after two weeks of action. Photo courtesy of Natacha Pisarenko/AP.

influential members in the skating community as well as athletes have been agreeing to disagree on the ruling to keep Valieva competing. Valieva did not medal in the women’s single event. Instead Anna Shcerbakova, another Russian, won the event. In the ice dance event Gabriella Papakes  and Guillaume Cizeron of France won gold. Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue secured the bronze medal. 

This year’s Olympics have been a testament to the resilience of athletes, who have had to deal with geo political battles, the COVID-19 pandemic and other mishaps. These athletes put on amazing shows of true physical feats, and broke long standing records. The country with the most medals at the end of these two weeks was Norway followed by Russia and Germany.