So another Winter Olympic Games has come and gone and boy, what a Games it was! From Ester Ledecka’s winning run on borrowed skis to Shaun White’s third Olympic gold and a record breaking medal haul for Team GB, Pyeongchang 2018 really did have everything when it came to the skiing and snowboarding events. There were highs, lows, medals, injuries and ‘that’ Halfpipe run. Here we sum up our high-and-low-lights of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Team USA’s Youngsters Brought Their A-Game
Team USA showed that their youngsters are not here to mess around, with not one, but two 17-year-old snowboarders taking home gold medals! Red Gerard stole a shock victory in the men’s snowboard slopestyle to become the youngest snowboarder ever to win a medal at the Winter Olympics and the second-youngest male to top the podium in any individual event. However, not content with the boys having all the fun, along came fellow snowboarder and 17-year-old Chloe Kim. Taking a victory in the Women’s Halfpipe with back-to-back 1080s, Kim firmly cemented her place in Olympic history. She actually qualified for the Sochi Games back in 2014, but was unable to participate as at just 13, she was 2 years from the Olympic minimum age. With Shaun White taking his third gold in Pyeongchang at the age of 31, it’s exciting to think about what the next decade or so will have in store for these two!
Olympic CHAMP Chloe Kim describes her Olympic experience so far as "unreal".
Posted by Team USA on Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Incredible Izzy Atkin
Landing third place in the Women’s Ski Slopestyle, Izzy Atkin claimed Team GB’s second medal on snow (that’s without counting Alain Baxster’s controversially revoked bronze medal). Another athlete flying the flag for the youngsters, 19-year-old Atkin, from Park City, Utah, has dual US/GB nationality and choses to compete for Team GB. Her bronze medal is a fitting testament to all the incredibly hard work that GB Park and Pipe have put in over the last few years, nurturing a fantastic team of young talent.
Congratulations, Izzy Atkin, you deserve this moment! 🥉
Posted by BBC Sport on Saturday, 17 February 2018
Shaun White Reigns Supreme
At his 4th Olympics, snowboarding legend Shaun White held out under pressure to claim his third Olympic gold in the Halfpipe. Landing back-to-back 1440s, something he hadn’t done until the morning of the final, White claimed gold in a thrilling final that really came down to the wire between Australia’s Scotty James, Japan’s Ayumu Hirano and Team USA’s White.
Shaun White put down back-to-back 1400's and took gold in the men's snowboard halfpipe. Relive his #PyeongChang2018 highlights. ✨❄️
Posted by Olympic Channel on Friday, 2 March 2018
The Unbelievable Feats of Ester Ledecka
Ester Ledecka shocked the world when she claimed the Super-G victory. Not only is she a snowboard specialist, but she was in fact skiing on a pair of second-hand skis, previously belonging the American slalom star Mikaela Shiffrin. Celebrations for Austria’s Anna Veith had already begun, when Ledecka took to the slope, wearing Bib number 26. No-one seemed more surprised at the final result than Ledecka herself, who was positively shellshocked. As if this wasn’t enough – she then went on to win gold in the Snowboard Slalom, making her the first woman to win an Olympic gold in both skiing and snowboarding! We’re just waiting for the movie announcement!
Nechceme znít jako sportovní nevděčníci, ale medaile v PGS na snowboardu se u Ester Ledecké přeci jenom čekala 👏🏻 🎩 🏂 🥇 Připomeňme si její první medaili – vítězstvím v super-G dala Ester vzniknout spoustě vtipů a především se zapsala do historie nepředstavitelným výkonem 👏🏻 💣 ⛷️ 🥇
Posted by Eurosport on Monday, 26 February 2018
Men’s Ski Slopestyle
The men’s ski slopestyle event was a true celebration of freestyle skiing at its finest. Team GB’s James Woods put down an absolutely awesome run, but it’s a mark of the incredible level of talent on offer that it just wasn’t enough to put him into the medals. Fourth place was still hugely impressive though, especially considering how tight a contest it was. It was one of the most enjoyable events of the Games to watch (in our opinion). The course was varied, with a huge amount for the athletes to get stuck in to, which led to some fantastic runs. A truly great display of what these guys can do and a great promotion for freestyle skiing.
Billy Morgan’s Brilliant Bronze
After qualifying in 6th, a serious hit in the final training session had us all worried as to whether he would even compete in the Big Air. However, under pressure, he delivered, Team GB’s snowboard star throwing down a whopping run with a double grab 1440. In an unbelievably competitive lineup that included Matt McCormick, slopestyle gold medallist Red Gerard and Canada’s Max Parrot, Southampton’s finest held his own and cemented GB’s place on the map in terms of Big Air. Morgan is one of the most dedicated and talented boarders around and we’re absolutely chuffed for him that he’s come home with a medal.
The Swiss Freeski Team’s Social Media Presence
The Swiss Freeski team, in particular Fabian Bösch, provided many a laugh from the Olympic Village, keeping us updated on their adventures through the magic of Instagram. From their inability to ride escalators to their makeshift bobsleigh ride, it seems like they’ve had the time of their lives in Pyeongchang. We’ve loved this little insight into the lighter side of the athletes’ Olympic experience.
Katie Ormerod Injured in Training
Debatably one of our best hopes for a medal on snow, we were all incredibly excited to see what snowboarder Katie Ormerod could do in Pyeongchang. With her best event, the Big Air, included as an Olympic event for the first time, the timing seemed ripe for Ormerod success. On training day 2, we all had a scare when Katie uploaded an image of her injured wrist, however she was adamant that she was still OK to board. We breathed a collective sigh of relief. Then, on day …, it was revealed that she had fallen again, this time fracturing a bone in her heel and thus ending her Pyeongchang journey. Of course, injuries are par for the course with a sport such as freestyle snowboarding, but with all the hard work Katie had put in in the leadup to Pyeongchang and her current form being so good, it was a huge disappointment for Team GB and their fans.
Yesterday sucked! After dreaming of competing at the Olympics for years, I finally got there and received the most bad luck I’ve ever had! After breaking my wrist on the first training day I was determined to still train, compete and do my best but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. I severely broke my heel into 2 pieces so having surgery in a couple of hours to get it fixed. Words can’t describe how gutted I am but thank you to everyone for all your support and kind words!! Also a massive good luck to my team mates competing this weekend…you guys better kill it! 😜🙌
PyeongChang Wasn’t to be for Aimee Fuller
Aimee Fuller came into Pyeongchang full of confidence, but it simply wasn’t to be. She reached the final of the snowboard slopestyle event after qualifying was cancelled and ended up finishing 17th out of 26 competitors in what was an extremely challenging event. In Big Air qualifying, where we were really hoping to see her shine, she fell twice, taking a shiver-inducing smack to the head. Luckily, she was OK after the event, but unfortunately her Olympic hopes were over.
A Miserable Musgrave Placed 28th in the 15km Cross-Country
We were all intrigued to see what Andrew Musgrave would bring to the Olympics after a string of great performances at World Cup level, however, even he was quick to call his 28th place finish in the 15km “pretty shocking”. Though he has been on fantastic form in recent months, Musgrave simply seemed lacking in that special something round the track. He placed 7th in the sprint earlier in the Games, the best ever cross-country result from a GB athlete. However, he could not emulate this success in his preferred distance, one where many thought he may have a shot at a medal.
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
The decision to run the women’s snowboard slopestyle is one that has, and will, be highly debated. In the face of high winds, qualification runs were cancelled, but the finals went ahead with all the participants. However, many branded the decision to run the event ‘dangerous’ after only five of the 25 finalists made it through their first run without falling.
Some believe that it is just the way these things go and that the more experienced and more tactical riders were able to tailor their runs to the conditions. Others were convinced that the event did not represent a fair competition or a fair representation of the current standard of ladies’ snowboarding. Instead of hoping to see the ladies put down some amazing tricks, it wasn’t uncommon to find yourself simply hoping that they would make it through the run without serious injury. At a time when there is so much incredible talent in the field of female boarding, it’s a shame that this event failed to showcase that.
Elizabeth Swaney’s Lacklustre Halfpipe Run
It’s gone viral online, but Elizabeth Swaney’s take on the skiing halfpipe wasn’t winning many points. Throughout her two runs, she attempted one alley-oop and came away with a highest score of 31.40 (40 points behind the lowest scoring qualification score). In Pyeongchang, Swaney competed under the Hungarian flag, which she qualified for through her mother. However, she has also previously competed for Venezuela, despite the fact that she was born and has lived in the US all her life. She was able to qualify for the Winter Olympics by competing in the necessary number of World Cup events, raising money online to get herself there. Some have accused her of gaming the system, others are adamant that anyone willing to put in the time and effort to get to the Olympics deserves their chance and that if there is a loophole, that is a fault in the rules and not those who follow them.
As long as she showed up and dropped in for a run in the freeski halfpipe qualifying in the Winter Olympics, Elizabeth Swaney was guaranteed a top-30 finish. And that's exactly what she did.Read more: http://bit.ly/2C9Ihlk Via NBC Olympics
Posted by NBC News on Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Team USA’s Golden Girls
While to most, one or two Olympic medals is a mark of success. However, hopes were so high for Team USA slalom star Mikaela Shiffrin and veteran Olympian Lindsey Vonn, that their respective results have are tinged with slight disappointment. Lindsey Vonn took a respectable bronze in the downhill, her favoured event and the one in which she won gold back in 2010. This made her the oldest female alpine ski racer to finish in a medal place. Then, in the lead after the downhill section of the combined event, she missed a gate in the slalom and her Olympics were over. For Vonn, this was most likely her final Olympic race and there will be a slight disappointment that she couldn’t finish it and see off a fantastic Olympic career in true Lindsey Vonn winning fashion.
Shiffrin, on the other hand, regained the places lost in her downhill performance with a stellar slalom run to gain a silver in the combined. However, considering that she came into Pyeongchang looking like the one to beat in at least three, if not five, disciplines, it was a shame that we didn’t get to see her at her best across the board. That said though – a gold and a silver is still pretty good in our book!