Team USA’s Exceptional 2018 Winter Olympics Performance


Courtesy of Lydia Padmuji

Aaron Phogat, Sports Associate

The 2018 Winter Olympics took place in Pyeongchang, a city in South Korea only 50 miles from the border it shares with North Korea, last month. There was a noticeable presence of the political divide between these two bordering countries at the games, but messages of hope for peace and unity were still spread, seen through moments such as South Korea and North Korea entering the opening ceremony together as a united Team Korea. Kim Jong-Un’s sister Kim Jo Yong, along with many other prominent North Koreans, attended the Olympics and were joined by Mike Pence, the top US envoy to the Olympics.

Overall, the USA won a total of 23 medals: 9 golds, 8 silvers, and 6 bronzes. Our athletes toiled endlessly to win these medals, and on Thursday, February 22, all of this hard work finally paid off for the USA women’s hockey team. In a shootout that went to extra shots, Maddie Rooney, Team USA’s goalie, made one of the most important saves of her life that resulted in Team USA defeating Team Canada in the women’s hockey finals 3-2. Team USA’s women’s hockey team had not won a gold medal since 1998, and this victory lifted everyone’s spirits and moral amid Lindsey Vonn’s unfortunate loss.

Vonn, an accomplished slalom skier from the USA, had a gold medal just in her reach when she hooked a tip around a gate near the top of the slalom course and was instantly out of the race. This was perhaps her last and best chance at winning a gold. Despite being met with Twitter trolls after this loss, Vonn found many supporters such as Julie Foudy, an eminent sports commentator. In an uplifting fashion, friend and fellow USA women’s slalom Olympian, Mikaela Shriffin, toiled to win the USA a silver medal in the combined slalom. This came as no surprise, as Shriffin ascended to the title of world’s best woman skier last March. Vonn had guarded that title until then, but many people do not think she minded handing it over to Shriffin, who some consider her protégé.

In other news, the USA men’s curling team earned a spot in the men’s curling finals against Sweden by defeating Canada in the semifinals on the 22nd. Curling, or “chess on ice”, is an intensely strategic sport. Helping steer a 44 pound marble with brooms towards a target can be tricky, but on the night of the 23rd, Team USA curling swept their way to victory and a gold medal! Our men’s curling team really stepped their game up this Olympic to put us on the map.

The USA’s first Olympic gold medal in cross country skiing this year was won by Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins in the team sprint gold. Along with the whole country, the skiers rejoiced when they found out that they had won. Randall, an Alaskan native, and Diggins, a Minnesota native, medaled separately. This is their first time winning a gold in any competition together, and hopefully they will continue to make the USA proud in future Olympics!

Shaun White, the renowned American Olympic snowboarder, won his third gold medal on the 14th. He had an amazing qualifying run, scoring 100 points (a perfect score). However, White was doubtful that he would be able to attend the 2018 Olympics. 62 stitches with serious facial injuries and bruised lungs were the result of a brutal snowboarding accident in October 2017 that made White believe he would not be able to go to Pyeongchang to compete. Thankfully, and to the USA’s relief, he recovered and got back on his board in time!

The 2018 Winter Olympics was a fantastic experience for all those in Pyeongchang and those sitting at home watching along. Many records were broken, but not only that, the USA ended many medal droughts (such as the one in women’s ice hockey). Let’s hope for Team USA to continue their streak of success in the 2020 Summer Olympics!