The Olympic Games were originally created to promote peace and international cooperation, and this year’s 23rd Winter Olympics continued to display those same ideals. North and South Korea marching under the same flag could only happen in the Olympics, and international cooperation displayed through the medium of sports allows people from around the world to dream of the peaceful reality John Lennon sang of in “Imagine”.
Though the idea of international cooperation is promoted at the Olympics, many people also follow the Olympics to watch superhuman figures represent their countries, pushing the boundaries of the human form.
A huge Olympic benchmark was passed in the Games, as the 1000th Gold medal for the Winter Olympics was won by Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu. He competed in the men’s single discipline figure skating. Hanyu displayed immense discipline during the competition. He had badly injured a ligament in his right ankle four months earlier, and had not competed since. In an interview after the event, Hanyu stated that he feared his ankle would give out during the performance.
Japan had another very interesting competitor in the games this year. Noriaki Kasai was one of five Olympians over 45 years old in the 2018 games. It was his eighth winter olympics, setting a new record for the amount of Games competed in by a single athlete. To have remained the world stage for 29 years is impressive on its own, but he also has three Olympic medals: silver in 1994 for the team jump, silver in 2014 for the individual large hill, and bronze in 2014 for the team jump. Outside of the Olympics he holds records for oldest medal winner at the World Cup, and holds the record for longest jump for over 35 year olds. Hanyu did not make it to the medal podium this year in any of his events, but has proved beyond a doubt that age does not determine ability.
On the other side of the age gap, the US sent two 17 year olds to compete in Snowboarding events. Chloe Kim is quickly becoming everybody’s favorite athlete with a gold medal in the women’s half-pipe. She is down to earth and very likeable, but she cannot hold a candle to her fellow athlete Red Gerard in terms of relatability. Gerard won Gold in the Men’s Slopestyle, and in a later interview he shared details about his day that reminded everyone that these athletes, despite being incredible at what they do, are still human. Red admitted that he had overslept and nearly missed his event. It was an hour long bus ride between the mountain and the village he was staying at, and Gerard claims that he wasn’t used to waking up so early, so he just decided to sleep more. This tardiness was not helped by the fact that he could not find his jacket in his room, and ended up borrowing his roommate’s. But to put the proverbial icing on the cake, Gerard really showed his age – through his immaturity – right after his win: as his scores appeared, Red swore on live television, amazed that he had actually won. His story undoubtedly endears him to teenagers everywhere.
And to finish off the United States’ victories, Shaun White won his 3rd gold medal in the men’s halfpipe. He set an Olympic record for winning that event three times, and earned the US’s 100th gold medal in the Winter Olympics.
Graphics: Maraea Garcia