Wintertime Olympics: reaches and misses from the Pyeongchang Games

27 days ago

With the 2018 Games behind us, here is a look at some of the highs and lows of South Koreas Winter Olympics

Hit: North Korea’s cheerleaders

North Korea sent more synchronised cheerleaders than athletes to Pyeongchang, and everywhere they ran the women were constantly photographed and cheered. For many South Koreans it was the first time they’d ever met any of their northern neighbours. The DPRK’s male minders made sure, though, that the latter are kept very separate from the general population.

Miss: Mike Pence

It was a tough Olympics for US vice-president Mike Pence. Before and during the Games he was vocally criticised by LGBT athletes Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon for his attitude to gay rights. Then at the opening ceremony Pence found himself awkwardly sat near to Kim Jong-un’s sister and the North Korean VIP delegation, at a time when at home the USA was piling more diplomatic pressure on the DPRK over its nuclear programme. He did not shake their hands.

Hit: Marit Bjorgen

Norway’s Marit Bjorgen stimulated history as the most decorated ever Winter Olympics athlete. With 15 medals overall, she claimed her seventh and eighth gold medals in cross-country skiing in South Korea. Aged 37, it was her fifth Olympics. The top three Winter Olympians of all time are Norwegian: Ole Einar Bjorndalen and Bjorn Daehlie have 13 and 12 medals respectively, and the country topped Pyeongchang’s medal table.

Hit: Team GB’s Super Saturday

It was an unprecedented feat as Britain’s first Olympic medal-winning skier Izzy Atkin was joined by Lizzy Yarnold’s gold and Laura Deas’s bronze in the skeleton. The first time Team GB had ever won three medals in a day at a Wintertime Olympics, with Yarnold becoming the first Briton to retain a Winter Olympic title in the process.

But your heart went out to Austria’s Janine Flock. Her final operate saw her slip from leading the skeleton, to missing out on the medals altogether. Team GB aimed up with their best ever Winter Olympics medal haul.

Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold( left) and Laura Deas celebrate winning gold and bronze. Photograph: David Davies/ PA

Miss: Elise Christie

In stark contrast to Team GB’s success on the skeleton track, on the velocity skating ice Elise Christie crashed out. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Despite being a triple gold medal winner in 2017′ s World Championships, Christie now has a run of six successive accidents or disqualifications at the Olympics.

Elise Christie had another Winter Olympics to forget. Photo: Mike Egerton/ PA

Hit: South Korea’s’ garlic girls’

The gold medal evaded them in the end, but the five Kims on South Korea’s women’s curling squad became national heroes as they unexpectedly reached the final. Dubbed the” Garlic girls” after their garlic-producing hometown Uiseong, the nation took them to their hearts as they stimulated thrilling advance through the tournament.

Miss: South Korea’s speed-skating’ bullies’

Less popular with the South Korean public were the women speedskaters. Kim Bo-reum and Park Ji-woo were accused of bullying team-mate Noh Seon-yeong after a disastrous pursuit quarter-final where Noh had been dropped off the back of the team, and was left in tears by the trackside. In a press conference afterwards one of the skaters appeared to laugh about Noh not being able to keep up. More than 500,000 people then signed a petition calling for Kim and Park to be deposed from the team.

Kim Bo-reum and Park Ji-woo leave team-mate Noh Seon-yeong behind. Photo: Kimimasa Mayama/ EPA

Hit: Chloe Kim and her ice cream desire

Chloe Kim became one of the stars of the Games at only 17, becoming the youngest girl to win an Olympic snowboarding medal, taking gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe. Her approachability was typified by a tweet she sent telling ” Could be down for some ice cream right now”- in the middle of competing.

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