The best stories from the 2018 Winter Olympics

A recap of two weeks full of Canadian glory

Photographs of te 2018 Canadian Olympic athletes
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Photo illustration by Josh Granovsky

Now that this year’s Winter Olympics have come to a close, we find ourselves being confronted with the responsibilities we’ve ignored for the past two weeks re-entering our lives. As midterms, essays and projects come back into view, it’s time to start grasping for any Olympics-related content to remind us of the good times. 

Carried out in Pyeongchang, Canada’s 2018 medal count will go down in history as our most successful Olympic games ever with a whopping 29 medals — six more than USA’s Olympic team, but who’s counting?

With a record-breaking 102 events this year, it was hard to keep track of all the memorable moments that came out of these Olympics. 

Here’s a round-up of the most compelling and noteworthy stories of this year’s games. 

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

After a devastating silver medal finish in 2014, Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took home gold this year to become the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history. Together, they’ve won five medals since 2010 and have since earned the highest-ever free dance event score on record. 

Not only was it their exceptional talents that pushed Virtue and Moir to become the face of Team Canada 2018, but their intense chemistry on the ice and their ambiguous relationship status also played a role in the publicity. With their skillful performances and heartwarming friendship, it’s no wonder the pair captured the attention of the nation.

The past two weeks have been filled with questions about whether or not Virtue and Moir are romantically involved, after they joked about having dated at ages seven and nine. Lightheartedly refusing to comment further, we can only keep hoping in our hearts that they’ll end up together by the next Olympics.

Jocelyne Larocque’s behaviour under fire

The Canadian women’s hockey team shocked fans worldwide when they broke their four-time winning streak and took home the silver medal after a loss to the US team. After the game, however, defender Jocelyne Larocque boldly removed her silver medal immediately after it was awarded.

The Canadian athlete was highly criticized for a supposed lack of sportsmanship and for violating international hockey codes by disrespecting her medal. 

Larocque has since apologized, stating she takes her position as a role model very seriously and regrets her actions.

Canadian bobsleigh team ties

Arguably the most jaw-dropping event at this year’s Winter Olympics was the result of the two-man bobsleigh event. 

Top Canadian bobsleigh team Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz delivered stunning results in all four runs of the event. Come the final run, after steering their sled at speeds of 135 kilometers per hour, Team Kripps’ cumulative time matched Germany team athlete Friedrich’s first-place time down to the hundredth of a second. 

The shockingly improbable tie led to Canada and Germany sharing the gold medal podium.

What’s even more surprising about this unlikely coincidence? The last time a two-man Canadian bobsleigh team took home an Olympic gold was in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, when Canadian Team Lueders similarly tied with Italy in the same event. 

Kim Boutin overcomes online hate

After winning her first Olympic bronze medal, Canadian short-track speed skater Kim Boutin was met with hordes of angry and hateful online messages, many of them including death threats. South Korean speed skating fans targeted Boutin after South Korean athlete Choi Min-jeong was disqualified from the event for interference, allowing Boutin to medal. 

Boutin shut down much of her social media as the RCMP, Canadian Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee investigated the threats. Despite these pressures, Boutin went on to win two more medals, a silver and another bronze, and was honoured as Canada’s flag bearer for the Closing Ceremonies. 

Bonus international story: Jamaican bobsleigh team drama

As we’ve already covered, bobsleigh proved to be one of the most dramatic sporting events of the 2018 Winter Olympics. As a fan of the 1993 film Cool Runnings, which illustrates Jamaica’s struggle in creating a bobsled team, I always look forward to watching the real Jamaican bobsled team in the Olympics each year. 

This year, however, their runnings didn’t start off so cool. Just a few days before their first event, the Jamaican women’s bobsleigh coach got in a fight with her team, left South Korea and took their only sled with her.

Luckily, Jamaican beer company Red Stripe stepped in and offered to fund a new bobsleigh for the team, allowing them to compete and finish in 19th place.

Though the drama and excitement of the Winter Olympics is over until 2022, we can look forward to this year’s Paralympics, running from March 8 to 18, and to the sweaty frenzy that is the Summer Olympics in 2020.

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