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  • Writer's pictureEmma Treptow

And with that, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have come to a close

Photo credit: AP

Two weeks later, after a magical closing ceremony, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have come to a close. Two weeks of some of the craziest, most jaw-dropping sports with the best athletes never fail to impress and they certainly did not this year. The Olympics were a wild and emotional 17 days between controversy, broken records, and history makers. But the magic of the Olympics will always prevail, no matter the occasion; it’s the one sporting event that brings us all together, all eyes on the same thing searching for the joy and magic of the games.

Photo credit: @TeamCanada /twitter

Canada vs the United States in women’s hockey is arguably the biggest rivalry in all of sports. They have met in all but one of the gold medal matches since women’s hockey was introduced to the Olympics in 1998. Canada has five gold medals (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2022), against the US’s two (1998, 2018). The US came into the tournament after winning gold in PyeongChang in a dramatic shootout win. Canada came in as the favorites despite the US being the defending champions. Canada played Switzerland in the semifinals winning very comfortably 10-3 while the US played Finland in a closer game that ended 4-1. Finland went on to win the bronze medal match against Switzerland 4-0. The gold medal match up had all the attention though as the rivalry game. The United States wanted to defend their gold, Canada wanted to steal back the gold. This game ended 3-2 to Canada. Canada thought they had opened the scoring just 7 minutes into the game only for USA coach Joel Johnson to challenge for offside and it to be overturned. Not even a minute later, Canada really did open the scoring with a goal off an offensive zone faceoff by Sarah Nurse. Marie-Philip Poulin, Canada’s “Captain Clutch,” doubled the lead with around five minutes remaining in the first period. Despite shots being level, the U.S. continued their streak of failing to score in the first period. Poulin added a third for Canada at the halfway mark of the second period. With this goal, she became the first hockey player, man or woman, to score in four Olympic gold medal matches, an incredible feat. Nurse, as well, made history on this goal with her assist to Poulin, breaking the record for most points by a single player in a Winter Olympics. This record was previously held by Hockey Hall of Famer Hayley Wickenheiser. Nurse exceeded it with her 18 points throughout the seven games. The US, down two goals entering the third and final period after a short-handed goal by Hillary Knight with less than two minutes remaining in the second, continued their push forward and saw any possibility of a comeback come too little, too late with a goal by Amanda Kessel, to make it a one-goal game, with just seconds left in the game. Canada won the gold and put an empathic stamp on their very dominant Olympic run, out-scoring their opponents 57-10, with 33 goals in the group stage and 24 in the knockout rounds. Goaltender, Ann Renée Desbiens made an impressive 141 saves in the tournament for Canada.

Photo credits: @TeamCanada /twitter

Along with breaking the record of most points in an Olympic tournament, Sarah Nurse also became the first Black woman to win Olympic gold in women’s hockey. Nurse, a former standout at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, continues to break barriers and grow the game, showing other young Black girls that they too can play hockey at this level. Breaking barriers for the United States was Nurse’s former UW teammate and fellow forward, Abby Roque as she became the first Indigenous woman to win any medal in USA women’s hockey history. Roque had already made history by just being at the Olympics for the U.S. but winning a medal, although not the color they may have wanted, further etched her name into the books. On an even bigger level, this gold medal match was played at 11:10pm ET on a weekday, yet averaged 3.54 million viewers on NBC. Despite the puck drop being so late, these numbers averaged more than any NHL game this season. It became the second most-watched hockey game in the U.S. since 2019, proving that women’s hockey is very profitable and with the right investment, would flourish from a true professional league in the United States.

GOLD- Team Canada


BRONZE- Finland

Photo credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s been a wild Olympics for figure skating. If you haven’t been following the Olympics or Olympic figure skating closely, there has been a lot of controversy and anger toward the decision made about gold medal favorite, Kamila Valieva to allow her to compete in the final event of the women’s singles after a positive doping test. Valieva tested positive for performance-enhancing substances and the decision to allow her to compete came as a surprise to the whole world. As reported by the New York Times, Valieva was allowed to compete due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport panel ruling that “it had decided that Valieva could continue skating at the Olympics because she was not to blame for the delay in providing a conclusive result by the Stockholm laboratory that analyzed her sample” and “None of this is the fault of the athlete, and it has put her in a remarkably difficult position where she faces a lifetime of work being taken from her within days of the biggest event of her short career” (Tarqi Panja, New York Times). Valieva, fifteen, is seen as a protected minor which in the eyes of some media gave her an advantage to this court decision and helped improve her chances to be allowed to compete. Although not completely proven, this may be true as the CAS said in the statement that not allowing Valieva to compete could cause “irreparable harm”. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) did release that they would not allow a medal ceremony due to the possibility that Valieva could be eventually disqualified and punished when the investigation is finished. Valieva was the gold medal favorite and sat in 1st place after the short program, going into the free skate. With a high difficulty routine, it was expected that Valieva would medal in this event. But it seemed as though the emotional toll and stress of this week took over Kamila Valieva as she took the ice for her free skate, as she landed on the ice multiple times throughout her program. She broke down very visibly after her performance, it was clear that she was struggling from the pressure of the week. Valieva, due to her free skate, finished the women’s free skate in fourth and in the words of Johnny Weir, “Thank God!” that there would in fact be a medal ceremony. This video has the commentary reactions from Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski and Terry Gannon to the whole situation as it happened. With Kamila Valieva in fourth, there was a medal ceremony to be had. ROC figure skater Anna Shcherbakov won gold while her teammate Aleksandra Trusova won silver. Any celebrations for these girls were very muted and overshadowed due to the drama that occurred post-program with Valieva. Gold medalist Shcherbakov could not even find anyone to hug for a time after finding out she had won, Trusova was angry and didn’t even want a medal ceremony. But for Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto, who won bronze, she was ecstatic. All the pressure finally off her and in an event where an ROC sweep was expected, being able to medal for her country was an amazing achievement she has to be proud of. As for the Americans in this event, they were not expected to medal with their routines as they aren’t up to the same difficulty as those of Shcherbakov, Trusova, Sakamoto, and Valieva; but they all skated their hearts out. It was seen in each of their performances in the free skate that they were all enjoying themselves and did that skate to their best ability. Alysa Liu was the highest finisher for the United States with 7th place, Mariah Bell followed her closely in 10th, while Karen Chen rounded out the American trio in 16th.

GOLD- Anna Shcherbakov

SILVER- Aleksandra Trusova

BRONZE- Kaori Sakamoto

Photo credit: Jean Catuffe/Getty

Erin Jackson wasn’t even expected to be competing in the Olympics after a slip in trials kept her out of the qualifying places. But thanks to Team USA teammate Brittany Bowe, who had already qualified in two other events, giving up her spot in the 500m sprint, Erin Jackson is an Olympic gold medalist. Jackson entered the Olympics as the gold medal favorite and became the first black woman to win Olympic gold in speed skating for the US after a very impressive finals skate. Jackson was the only American speed skater to capture gold at this Games. With a time of 37.04, Jackson edged out Takagi Miho of Japan by 0.08 seconds. Miho finished with a time of 37.12 to capture the silver for Japan. Angelina Golikova of the ROC took bronze with a time of 37.21.

GOLD- Erin Jackson

SILVER- Takagi Miho

BRONZE- Angelina Golikova

Photo credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Staying with speed skating, in the 1000m, Takagi Miho won gold after three silver medals in Beijing. Miho, en route to gold, also broke the Olympic record previously set in PyeongChang by a Dutch skater. Miho’s record-breaking time was 1:13.19, 0.37 seconds in front of the prior record. Brittany Bowe of the United States also collected a medal in this event as she was just over a second behind the leaders with a time of 1:14.61. Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands collected silver between Bowe and Miho with her time of 1:13.83.

GOLD- Takagi Miho

SILVER- Jutta Leerdam

BRONZE- Brittany Bowe

Eileen Gu continued to impress as the games went on. She participated in the slopestyle and halfpipe ski events after winning her first gold in the freestyle ski.

Photo credit: Reuters

In slopestyle, an event where the skiers go down a course with various obstacles, the highest score of three runs is taken as the skier’s score. On Gu’s third run, she recorded an 86.23 after a 69.90 on run 1 and a fall leaving her with a 16.98 on her second run. This score pushed her into second with just the leader to go meaning she had clinched a silver medal. Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland won the slopestyle with an 86.56 on her second run. In the bronze position was Kelly Sildaru of Estonia with an 82.06 on her first run.

GOLD- Mathilde Gremaud

SILVER- Eileen Gu

BRONZE- Kelly Sildaru

Photo credit: Mike Blake / Reuters

In the halfpipe, Gu greatly impressed, putting up two 90+ performances on her first two runs. With a 95.25 being the higher of the two, Eileen Gu put herself in an incredible position at the top spot going into the third run. Canada’s Cassie Sharpe challenged Gu for the top spot but ultimately fell short, ending her three runs with a 90.75 on her third run. Sharpe finished second followed by her Canadian teammate, Rachael Karker who had an 87.75 in her first run. This gold medal for Gu made her the first freestyle skier to win three medals in one games.

GOLD- Eileen Gu

SILVER- Cassie Sharpe

BRONZE- Rachael Karker

Photo credits: Getty Images

It was Monobob's Olympic debut and for Kaillie Humphries, it was her U.S. Olympic debut. Humphries, a Canadian-American, competed for Canada in the 2018 games but after a bronze medal finish in the two-woman bobsled, she alleged that she was verbally and mentally harassed by her coach. Humphries is married to an American citizen and has lived in the States since 2016 making her able to obtain dual citizenship between the two countries. She was granted this in December of 2021 just weeks before the games kicked off despite beginning the process over a year earlier. Humphries has been competing with Team USA via a release from the Canadian organization given in September 2019, when she began her journey to obtaining American citizenship. In bobsledding, you race four times and all the times are added up giving you your final time. Humphries finished her four runs with a 4:19.27 while also setting a track record with a 1:04.44. Humphries was followed by Team USA teammate Elana Meyers Taylor who had tested positive for COVIDspeedskater when initially arriving in Beijing but was negative by the time it was time for the bobsledding competitions. Meyers Taylor also set a record in Beijing, setting a new start record with 5.61. Meyers Taylor’s four times from her runs added up to 4:20.81, placing her in second and just over a second behind Humphries. The U.S. took gold and silver through Humphries and Meyers Taylor, etching their names in the history books as the first women to win gold and silver in the monobob. As the US went 1-2, Canada’s Christine de Bruin rounded out the podium, placing third with a time of 4:21.03.

GOLD- Kaillie Humphries

SILVER- Elana Meyers Taylor

BRONZE- Christine de Bruin

Photo credit: Christian Bruna/EPA-EFE

In the two-women bobsled, both Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor had sleds but only Meyers Taylor medaled. Humphries and her teammate Kaysha Love missed a medal as they placed 7th overall. Meyers Taylor and her teammate Sylvia Hoffman together won bronze, stopping a German sweep of the podium. They put up a time of 4:05.48, over a second behind the leader. Meyers Taylor set another start record with a 5.30 start time in this event. With this bronze medal, Meyers Taylor became the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympic history with 5 medals. She had tied the record with her silver in the monobob, days prior, picking up her 4th medal to be level with speed-skater Shani Davis. Above Meyers Taylor on the podium, Germany went 1-2 as Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi finished in the top spot in a 4:03.96 while Mariama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt placed second with a 4:04.73.

GOLD- Laura Nolte

SILVER- Mariama Jamanka

BRONZE- Elana Meyers Taylor

Photo credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Jessie Diggins might just be a superwoman. She competed in the 30 kilometer cross country mass start just 30 hours after coming down with food poisoning. Despite not being fully recovered, Diggins went out and won a silver medal marking her third overall Olympic medal and second in Beijing. Diggins now has a medal in every color and is the winningest cross country skier in US Olympic history. Along with this, she is the only American to have ever brought back multiple medals in XC skiing from a single Games and the first non-European to bring home a medal in this event. Diggins medaled in both a sprint event and this 30km in Beijing. Therese Johaug of Norway won gold as Kerttu Niskanen of Finland rounded out the top three with bronze.

GOLD- Therese Johaug

SILVER- Jessie Diggins

BRONZE- Kerttu Niskanen

Photo credit: 2022 Getty Images

Austria’s Anna Gasser became the first back-to-back gold medalist in big air snowboarding as she won this years’ competition in Beijing. Gasser put up three huge scores with a 90.00 in run 1, an 86.75 in run 2, and a giant score of 95.50 in run 3 to seal up the gold medal. Her top two scores, 90.00 and 95.50 were added together, as she finished the competition with a score of 185.50, 8.5 points in front of the silver medalist. In that silver medal position was New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott with a total score of 177.00 after a 93.25 and 83.75 in runs 1 and 2. In the bronze position was Japan’s Kokomo Murase with a score of 171.50 after an 80.00 in run 1 and a 91.50 in run 2.

GOLD- Anna Gasser

SILVER- Zoi Sadowski-Synnott

BRONZE- Kokomo Murase

Photo credit: @Eurosport_NL /twitter

Irene Schouten of the Netherlands had one of the most impressive Olympics in speed skating. Schouten is returning home with three gold medals after winning the women’s mass start event. During the final stretch of the mass start, Schouten had to push to overtake Canada’s Ivanie Blondin with an all-out sprint, overtaking Blondin by 0.06 seconds. Schouten also secured gold medals in the 3,000m and the 5,000m in the days prior. Schouten finished the mass start with a time of 8:14.73, Blondin followed with an 8:14.79 while Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida finished with an 8:14.98 in third place.

GOLD- Irene Schouten

SILVER- Ivanie Blondin

BRONZE- Francesca Lollobrigida


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