On Feb. 10, Team USA’s Chloe Kim won the snowboard halfpipe, her second gold medal after placing first in the same event in Pyeongchang in 2018, making her the first woman to defend an Olympic halfpipe title. Her first run included two 1080s and three spins. Even though she fell while trying to do the 1260, her first showing was enough to get the gold and win against Queralt Castellet of Spain and Sena Tomita of Japan.
Sadly, snowboarding legend Shaun White did not place in the snowboard halfpipe. Out of White’s three runs, his second run was his best, with a frontside 1440 before breaking into a double 1080. He followed up by perfectly pulling off a frontside 540, before the Double McTwist 1260. Lastly, he hit a clean frontside 1260. Unfortunately, the last run of his career ended with a wipe out at the end. The gold went to Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, while Australia’s Scotty James took silver and Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer took the bronze. White was 19 when he got his first gold medal in 2006 at Torina. He also finished on the podium in 2010 and fought back to win gold in 2018. Shaun White ends his career with the world record for the most X Games gold medals and the most Olympic gold medals by a snowboarder.
At the inuagural mixed team snowboard cross at the Olympics, America’s Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner won the gold medal. Baumgartner, 40, and Jacobellis, 36, are now the oldest snowboarders to win any Olympic medal and the oldest Americans to win gold at the Winter Games since 1948.
Wellesley alum Clare Egan ’10 competed in the women’s relay and pursuit for the biathlon. The United States’ 4×6-kilometer women’s biathlon relay team placed 11th while Sweden won the gold medal. In the women’s pursuit, Egan placed 38th out of 60 overall and was the second-fastest of the three Americans in the race. She was behind Norway’s gold medalist Marte Olsbu Roiseland by 5 minutes, 30.1 seconds.
Erin Jackson won the women’s 500 meter gold medal in Beijing. With a time of 37.04, she is the first US woman to win a speed skating gold at the Olympics since 1994. Jackson is also the first Black woman to win an individual medal in speed skating at the Olympics. Jackson almost did not compete in the 500 meter after messing up in the qualifiers, but a teammate gave up her spot so that Jackson could go to Beijing. She finished 0.08 seconds ahead of Japan’s Miho Takagi and 0.17 seconds ahead of the Russian Olympic Committee’s Angelina Golikova.
Nathan Chen, with a dominant showing, won the men’s figure skating title by more than 22 points. His program included five quadruple jumps and a pair of triples. This was redemption for his performance in Pyeongchang in 2018, when he was a favorite but had no luck on the ice and placed fifth. Japanese competitors Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno took silver and bronze, respectively.
At the beginning of the games, three Russians had a chance of taking all the spots on the podium for the first time in the history. However this did not come to fruition when it became public that Kamila Valieva, who is 15 years old, tested positive for a banned substance. Controversy erupted after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) still let her compete regardless. Valieva was favored to win the gold but ended up finishing first in the short program and fifth in the free to get an overall of fourth place. Her last programs had the most errors in her entire career compared to her showing last week before the controversy. Valieva was shaky on her first jump, the triple axel, and had to steady herself. She also fell on the triple toe loop and fell on the following jump combination.
Also competing for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was Anna Shcherbakova, who earned gold. After winning the event, not one of her coaches or teammates were there to congratulate her. The team was more preoccupied with comforting a crying Kamila after realizing she did not get onto the podium and Alexandra Trusova, a teammate of both Valieva and Shcherbakova, who won silver. Trusova landed five quadruple jumps, but one of them got downgraded for being under-rotated. Her performance is considered the most challenging technical program in women’s Olympic figure skating history. Trusova was seen distressed and crying about the results and was determined to not skate out for the ceremony. Trusova won the free program, but her fourth place in the free program was not enough to win gold. With the events that unfolded in the women’s figure skating event, the debate about age requirements for competitors at the Olympics was revisited by the public.
Canada defeated the US 3-2 to win women’s ice hockey gold in a great rivalry game. The US were defending their Olympic title, but Canada came back to win its fifth gold medal in the event. Canada and the US have been the only gold medal winners in the women’s hockey history since it was introduced in 1998. In the riveting final game, the Canadians took the lead with 3-0 lead by the third period. With a great rally, the US scored their first goal and eventually scored another with 13 seconds left.