The medals are counted—with the U.S. coming in fourth with 23 total, behind our neighbors to the north, Canada, with 29—and the athletes walked together one last time during the Closing Ceremonies. The XXIII Olympic Winter Games are over, and the time has come to take a look back at all of the competing athletes’ prowess—and show our appreciation for making our recent TV viewing that much more entertaining (and attractive).
Fire on the Ice
Now, you might think that the Winter Olympics are less sexy than their Summer cousin, purely because of the temperature at which winter sports are typically done. But if you’ve watched any of the coverage over the last couple of weeks, you know that assumption is incorrect. Particularly thanks to the Canadian ice dancing gold medal-winning duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, whose chemistry is UNDENIABLE, regardless of what they say during interviews. I mean:
Leslie Jones (and Adam Rippon) knows what’s what.
"Are they getting in trouble for how sexy they are?"@lesdoggg and @adaripp commentating on @tessavirtue and @scottmoir's short dance is everything we could have ever wanted. AND MORE. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/fmMl0C4Amf pic.twitter.com/ykkNvv7L5p— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 20, 2018
Even Ryan Reynolds got in on the act.
Virtue’s response? Just kindled the fire even more.
And here I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a post-competition career path ... Scott, get the mini van!— Tessa Virtue (@tessavirtue) February 22, 2018
H/t to commenter Natalie W. for the first photo.
Speaking of Rippon—the U.S. figure skater might not have achieved a personal medal, but he certainly won his way into hearts across the world with his openness about his sexuality, his self-confidence, and his wacky antics. (He even caught the eye of Sally Field, who tried to play matchmaker for her son.)
I was recently asked in an interview what its like to be a gay athlete in sports. I said that it’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Lots of hard work but usually done with better eye brows.— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) December 28, 2017
His quotes from various interviews have been gold-medal worthy. I’m not 100% sure of the accuracy of these, but this “Adam Rippon quotes as zodiac signs” Tumblr post really gets the wide range of comments across. (Tag yourself; I’m “I’m going to go to Target, and I’m going to get a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc Oyster Bay with the twist top. Yeah. Uh-huh. Immediately. You can come right over. I live like 15 minutes from LAX and we can just have a day.“)
I could go on (and on) about what makes Rippon The Best, but Teen Vogue did it for me.
On the scale of Reese Witherspoon to Elmo, Adam definitely rates a Meryl Streep.
Strides in LGBTQ+ Representation
Aside from being delightful, Rippon being the first openly gay man to compete for the U.S. in figure skating also kick-started the conversation about LGTBQ+ people in sports. This article from Slate articulates what made his and Canadian figure skater (and gold-medal winner) Eric Radford’s involvement in this year’s games so powerful.
The Guardian also published an article highlighting Rippon, Radford, and U.S. skier Gus Kenworthy, who—although he didn’t win any medals—kissed his boyfriend during live coverage, which probably had some (idiotic) tongues wagging. The article, if you didn’t click through to read, is titled “Gay men are winning this year’s Winter Olympics – and making it a joy to watch.” And it’s the absolute truth, as much as it’s frustrating that all people, regardless of their sexual identity, can’t just be themselves and not discussed like they’re a spectacle.
Kenworthy really hit the nail on the head with his tweet from the Opening Ceremonies:
Major fist pumps, all around.
A Bromance Worthy of the Gods
I’d be super remiss not call attention to the adorable bromance between Rippon and Kenworthy, which started at the Opening Ceremonies (see previous section) and continued throughout the games.
v proud of this guy pic.twitter.com/rlTk6is3Cy— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 12, 2018
Two weeks ago, at opening ceremonies, we met and a friendship began. Today, at closing ceremonies, it ends. @Adaripp, please stop calling me. You're honestly starting to get v clingy and I can't anymore. pic.twitter.com/h9GArWda9b— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 25, 2018
Oh … well … all good things must come to an end.
(The people in the comments not realizing this is a joke … #blesstheirhearts)
(We also appreciate these two guys’ obvious dedication to their musculature, particularly that of Rippon’s Jesus muscles and Kenworthy’s gluteus maximus. (NSFW warning on those links!) Additionally, Rippon assures everyone that his butt is the real deal.)
Hunger Games Realness
Although he didn’t actually perform in this year’s games, Johnny Weir (and partner Tara Lipinsky) absolutely brought it to his commentator duties, in a very familiar-to-YA audiences kind of way.
Naturally, Johnny took it all in stride.
"I mean, we think it's hilarious," Weir added, laughing. "Going into Sochi, Caesar Flickerman was sort of my muse in preparing and getting ready, except I can't laugh like he did in the movie."
(He attempted the laugh and yeah, it could still use a little work.)
"But now people finally get it," he said about his fashion statement. "It only took them four years."
By nature, the Olympics are filled with record-breaking events, but these are a few of the most surprising/awesome to come from this year’s competition:
- North and South Korean athletes came together for a joint women’s hockey team.
- Figure skater Mirai Nagasu was the first U.S. woman to land a triple axel in Olympic competition.
- Czech skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka won gold in the Super G, surprising everyone.
- U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen decided to add a fifth—and sixth—quad to his long program.
- 17-year-old U.S. snowboarder Chloe Kim’s impressive halfpipe run made her the youngest woman to win gold in the event, and she was the first to reel off back-to-back 1080s while doing it.
- Chris Mazdzer won a silver medal in Men’s Luge—a first in U.S. history.
- The Nigerian Women’s Bobsled team were the first members of their country—and all of Africa—to ever compete in the sport.
- And the U.S. Men’s Curling team won the country’s first gold medal in the sport, against some pretty heavy odds. (We can’t wait for the inevitable movie about “Team Reject.”)
Apologies that these are pretty U.S.-centric, but I’m somewhat limited by the U.S. media and what they choose to air/focus on.
Because the games kind of snuck up on us this year (*shakes fist at 2018*), we didn’t get a pre-Olympics post up celebrating the perfection that is the Olympic athletes’s, um, form(s). So let’s wrap up this wrap up with a look at some of our faves not already highlighted in this post. You know, for science.
Great Britain, Bobsled
Spain, Figure Skating
USA, Alpine Skiing
South Korea, Skeleton
USA, Alpine Skiing
Do you have a favorite moment from the games that we missed? Did we leave your favorite competitor off our list? Are you looking forward to seeing the additional amazing feats of the paralympic athletes when the XII Paralympic Winter Games kick off March 9? Jump (or ski or skate or luge) to the comments and we’ll chat.