By Jarin Kobashigawa
On Sunday, Feb. 25, the Winter Olympics came to a close and the torch was extinguished. The closing ceremony consisted of a performance by Martin Garrix, multiple K-pop groups and Lindsey Vonn. In the end, after the intense competitions, Norway proved to be the most dominant country in winter sports.
The final medal count for Norway was 39 with 14 medals in Gold and Silver, and 11 medals in Bronze. Previously in the 2014 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Norway won second place with 26 medals, three medals behind Russia. Norway won medals in alpine skiing, biathlon, curling, freestyle skiing, ski jumping and speed skating and nearly placed in every category of cross-country skiing. Additionally, Norway broke the record for most medals received by a single country, which was previously held by the United States (37 Medals) in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
What is more impressive about Norway’s performance is that only 109 athletes participated for Norway while the United States had a team of 242 athletes. Norway prides itself on humble athletes who have a very different upbringing compared to American athletes. In Norway, children will not receive medals or huge cash rewards for participating in contests. Also coaches and trainers will not regulate weight and meal plans of athletes, which allows for more freedom and comfort when they grow older. Due to the small team, athletes had to participate in more than one event, and yet collectively outperformed all the other countries.
The United States came in fourth overall in the medal count, approximately 16 medals behind Norway. Compared to the 2014 Vancouver Winter Olympics, America came in fourth as well but with 28 medals. However, our country did have its shining moments. The Women’s Ice Hockey Team won Gold, beating Canada in a shootout 3-2, which was the exact way that Canada beat the U.S. in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Team USA also placed Gold for Women’s Sprint Cross-Country Skiing, beating Sweden’s team in an exciting finish by only 0.72 seconds. The U.S. also dominated the Snowboarding Halfpipe for Men and Women. Shaun White had one of the most impressive runs on the Half-Pipe in all of Winter Olympic history, scoring a 97.75 and beating Japan’s Ayumu Hirano’s 95.25. Chloe Kim, a 17-year-old, from Long Beach, California took Gold for the half-pipe with a score of 93.75, beating China’s Liu Jiayu who scored an 85.50. Team USA also won Gold in the Slopestyle for men and women. Jaime Anderson took first for the Women’s Team with a score of 83.00, beating Canada’s Laurie Blouin who scored a 76.33. Redmond Gerard won for the men’s team and scored 87.16 to edge out Canada’s Max Parrot who scored an 86.00. In Women’s Alpine Skiing, Mikaela Shriffin got the Gold for Giant Slalom and silver for Alpine Combined Women. Lastly, David Wise, who is a two-time gold medalist in the freestyle skiing, won gold once again with a score of 97.20, beating Alex Ferreira who is also an American skier who had a score of 96.40.
The next Olympic event will be the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. In this Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has allowed Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboarding, Sports Climbing and Surfing to be added.