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
Red Gerard is making the most of his down time in between Olympic events.
The 17-year-old American snowboarder became an instant celebrity at the PyeongChang Games after taking home gold in the men’s slopestyle event on Saturday. The Ohio native is not scheduled to compete again until next week’s men’s big air event. In between competitions at the Olympics, Gerard decided to fly to Los Angeles to take advantage of his newfound fame.
Gerard posted on his Instagram story Tuesday to show he was on a plane and, later, checked into a Hollywood hotel. The snowboarder even was a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
It is definitely a bold move for Gerard to do a media tour during the Games (and adding an extra 27 hours or so of travel time in the process) instead of waiting until afterwards. But after that incredible slopestyle performance, credit to him for striking while his celebrity iron is hot.
17-year-old Red Gerard brought home the United States’ first medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics with a gold medal run in the men’s slopestyle snowboarding event. And the teenager reacted to his final score just like you would.
After he completed his third run — the one that would win him his gold medal — Gerard waited in suspense for his score.
“Oh, god. This is scary,” NBC cameras caught him saying.
Then when his score was announced, Gerard said, “Holy s—.”
Indeed, Gerard’s third run was worthy of a holy s—. He completed every single one of his jumps and tricks perfectly, nailing it with an 87.16 score. Compare that to the 43.33 score on his first run and 46.40 he received on his second run. His third run was nothing short of awesome.