The 2022 winter Olympic games in Beijing are well on their way, and the competition has been nothing short of thrilling. The idea of winning the gold is the central theme, but it’s the overwhelming camaraderie among athletes from all over the world that make these games so special. Gold, silver, bronze, or none of the above, it’s the demanding work and dedication that makes simply getting there a special feeling. For U.S. athletes, a gold medal has been the result for some, but for others, a different end still meant the world. Either way, Team USA consistently represents in a proud fashion.
Snowboarders Making the U.S. Proud:
Shaun White: The “flying tomato” entered his fifth and final Olympic games ready to give his all. With the competition not letting up in the quarterfinals, White barely squeezed his way into the medal round where he had one last chance chance to prove his legendary skill. His first two attempts were stellar, but after crashing during the second trick of his third run, White rode his way down the halfpipe holding back tears. The three-time Olympic gold medalist hugged his teammates, and was recognized for his role in the game from so many young athletes and attendees. Although White did not have the picture-perfect finish that he hoped for, his legacy became engraved in the hearts of people all over the world.
What an Olympic career. What a legacy.
Thank you, @ShaunWhite. pic.twitter.com/rtKjwJkBkN
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 11, 2022
Julia Marino: Marino took home the very first medal for the United States on Feb. 6, concluding her exceptional snowboarding performance in second place. Her last run at the Olympic games in 2018 did not go as planned, so this finish was nothing short of fulfilling. The snowboarder did it in style, too. Her snowboard was white and red, with the words PRADA written in bold print on the bottom. The large name is hard to miss in pictures. Marino hopes that brands like PRADA will continue to recognize snowboarding, and other not-so mainstream sports.
Skiers Making the U.S. Proud, too:
Mikaela Shiffrin: Shiffrin is one of the most decorated alpine skiers of all time, which makes it no surprise that she is back for another games. After losing her dad last year in an accident, Shiffrin contemplated skiing ever again. Thankfully, she was able to rise up and hit the slopes in preparation for another Olympic debut. It has been a tough go for her at these games. The prodigy is out of both the giant slalom and slalom: two of her best events. The following days were full of confusion and disappointment for the athlete, but she was able to try to stay on her feet in the Super G. Shiffrin has never competed in that event at an Olympic games. The athlete finished in 9th place with a smile on her face.
Jessie Diggins: The cross-country skier from Stillwater, MN started skating when she was just four years old. Diggins and her teammate, Kikkan Randall, won the first gold medal for the United States women’s team sprint at the 2018 games in Pyeong Cheng. Diggins herself was the first American to ever win the Tour De Ski competition. She was also the first woman to hold her own at the top of World Cup rankings. Diggins took home a bronze medal on Feb 8, making it the first Olympic medal ever in cross country sprint for Team USA. You can read more about Diggins’ journey on her own personal blog where she shares some tips, experiences, and advice as an Olympic athlete.
Olympic Gold Medalists for Team USA:
Nathan Chen: The Salt Lake City native, Nathan Chen made worldwide headlines after his outstanding performance on Feb. 9. Following a disappointing finish at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeong Cheng, ending in fifth overall, Chen was determined to show what he was truly capable of in Beijing. The triumphant endeavor began during Chen’s qualification round, where he easily made his way to the short program. From there, Chen gave a world-record-setting performance. His overall score was 113.97: almost 6 points more than Yuma Kagiyama from Team Japan. It was the free skate however, where Chen declared his victory. He took home the Gold for Team USA.
Chloe Kim: At the Olympic games in 2018, Kim became the youngest woman to win the gold medal in the snowboarding halfpipe finals. Four years later, she did it again. The snowboarder left no chance for other contestants. After her first run, Kim had already secured a score of 94.00: four points more than the rest of the competitors. When she finished, Kim said, “Oh my god” as tears welled up in her eyes. She knew what she had done, and the world knew that she deserved every bit of that glory.
The inspiration that surrounds the simple name “Olympics” is what the games are all about. Athletes of this caliber give their lives to these sports, and their passion is the fuel for the next generation to follow in their footsteps. Here’s to Team USA, but most importantly, here’s to the world full of athletes who continue to inspire others every single day.