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.
After winning gold in the women’s singles competition on Friday, Alina Zagitova had to shout out the gold medalist of the men’s competition too.
The 15-year-old Russian figure skater put together a stunning performance in her free program to finish with a total score of 239.57 and take home the gold medal. Speaking with the media after her triumph, Zagitova showed love to Japanese men’s counterpart Yuzuru Hanyu, who himself won individual gold last week. Here is what she had to say, per Jackie Wong of Rocker Skating:
The two figure skating phenoms also appeared to have met face-to-face earlier in the PyeongChang Games, according to images posted by fans on Twitter.
When you also consider the extent of what Hanyu, who is only 23 himself, battled through to win his gold, it’s easy to see why there’s a deep mutual respect between the two young stars as they both now sit atop their sport.
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu won gold over the weekend in the men’s singles competition, and what made his performance even more impressive is that he apparently did it on one leg in a sense.
Hanyu, who won the hearts of many in PyeongChang with his brilliance on the ice and his devoted, Winnie-the-Pooh-tossing supporters, told reporters on Sunday that he needed painkillers to make it through the competition. The 23-year-old was nursing an ankle injury that had not yet fully healed.
“Without painkillers, I can’t land or take off for a jump,” said Hanyu, per Hiromu Namiki of the Japan News. “I’ve had a lot of aches and pains.”
According to Namiki’s piece, Hanyu hurt his right ankle on a fall in a practice for the NHK Trophy in November. As a result, he skipped every competition in PyeongChang (including the team event) until the men’s singles.
As part of the singles competition, Hanyu had to gut it out through a short program on Friday (where he placed first with a score of 111.68) and a free program on Saturday (where he placed second with a score of 206.17). Those two scores were enough cumulatively for him to win the gold medal.
Of course, we have already seen some other athletes battle through injury in this year’s Olympics, but Hanyu may very well be the first one to do so and go on to win it all in the end.