The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are in the books. Norway led the way in the medal count, bringing home 38 in total. Germany, including a surprising silver by their men’s hockey team, was next, and the U.S. was fourth with 23 medals.
From start to finish, there were shocking moments, controversies, messages of hope and peace, and some of the greatest athletic feats in the history of mankind.
Here’s a look at the 15 best moments from the 2018 Games:
15. North Korea and South Korea unite during opening ceremonies
Much was made over the North Koreans and South Koreans finding enough common ground so that both could compete in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. And while some of it may have been political posturing, at least for one brief moment, the two sides found peace and marched proudly under one flag during the opening ceremonies. It was in stark contrast to the 1988 Games held in Seoul, where the North Koreans not only refused to compete, but carried out a terrorist attack on a South Korean jetliner 10 months prior to the opening ceremonies. And considering North Korea could be seen from the mountain slopes in the Gangwon Province, it was particularly symbolic — a memorable and hopeful way to open the games.
The Olympics are a great generator of breakout stars. The athletes generally only gain major attention every four years, meaning new potential stars are coming onto the scene all the time. Even older athletes are finding success in the Olympics after battling obscurity and other obstacles earlier in their careers.
Here are 10 star athletes whose presence at the PyeongChang Olympics have gained them newfound fame and support.
1) Chloe Kim
It takes more than dominance in your sport to become a true Olympic breakout star — you must have a personality, too. Chloe Kim, gold medalist in the women’s snowboard halfpipe, has both in spades. Kim flew to gold in the halfpipe event, then tweeted her way into our hearts with a series of extremely relatable food tweets. That personality should serve her well, and given that she’s just 17 years old, we should be seeing her at future Winter Olympics for years to come.
2) Maddie Rooney
What would you do if you walked off with one of the more surprising gold medal wins of the Winter Olympics?
For Czech skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka, the answer was to hit up a KFC near the Olympic snowboard course.
Ledecka was mostly keeping to herself, offering up one comment about her choice of meal to Eddie Pells and Will Graves of the Associated Press: “Don’t tell my coaches.”
Ledecka won a gold medal in an event she wasn’t supposed to have a shot in and got a shoutout from a similarly-named fellow Olympian. We’ll go ahead and say she’s entitled to have some fast food just this once.
Katie Ledecky is sending some love from one similarly-named Olympic gold medalist to another.
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecka shocked everyone on Saturday by winning a surprise gold medal in the women’s super-G alpine skiing competition. The dual-sport athlete beat out Austrian skier Anna Veith by a mere 0.01 seconds.
After the stunning victory, Ledecka got a fitting shoutout on Twitter from American swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
Word of Ledecky’s shoutout appeared to reach Ledecka by the time that she spoke to reporters afterwards as she had this to say about her U.S. counterpart, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports:
After her stretch of utter dominance at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Ledecky is probably thrilled that a namesake of hers is killing the game in PyeongChang as well. Then again, Ledecky might just be happy that she got to witness Ledecka’s out-of-nowhere run since many viewers actually did not.