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  • Writer's pictureStarr Knight

4 Things We Learned From The Winter Olympics

The time has come to say goodbye to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The time has come to say goodbye to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Whilst I always enjoy the summer olympics more, I do have to admit that I was an avid watcher of the Winter Olympics this year (despite the time difference).

An Olympic year is never without its negativity, and Pyeongchang was no different. First, it was the dangers around it being too cold (the irony), then, the pre-olympics Russian doping scandal which continued throughout the competition as more competitors competing under the OAR (Olympic Athletes of Russia) banner tested positive for banned substances.

As I mentioned above, I watched a large amount of the Winter games, and there were four key things that I learned, which I wanted to share with you.

1. You don’t have to win to be a winner

Two words. Elizabeth Swaney. I’m sure you’ve heard of this name by now. Elizabeth is the 33-year-old Harvard graduate who qualified for the Olympics using a very interesting loophole.

Because of her grandparents, she was eligible to represent Hungary. She consistently finished in the top 30 of World Cup events by entering tournaments which consisted of fewer athletes than 30. All she had to do was record a score by not falling, and she would secure a place at the Winter Olympics.

Elizabeth could hardly perform a trick, and barely made any air on her jumps, but it didn’t matter. She was still a winner because she found a loophole, and competed at the Olympics.

2. Doping is still a huge issue

Having been in the world of sport for a number of years, I have seen various athletes lose their competing rights because they have used a banned substance. Maria Sharapova, Lance Armstrong, Tyson Gay, Rammy Ramirez, Floyd Landis, Justin Gatlin, Nigel Levine, Dwain Chambers and Marion Jones. What do they all have in common? Doping.

I wasn’t surprised to see that doping would be just as big an issue at the Winter Olympics as it is for other sporting events. After the suspension of the official Russian team, Russian athletes had to compete under OAR (Olympic Athletes of Russia). Unfortunately, Nadezhda Sergeeva, who finished 12th in the two-woman bobsleigh tested positive for a banned substance, along with Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky who was stripped of his bronze medal.

It seems that testing needs to be even more regular, and guidelines stricter. I know WADA are doing everything they can, but as a huge sports fan, nothing disappoints me more than a cheater winning a medal, being found guilty of doping, having their medal stripped and it being given to the rightful athlete without a full celebration.

3. Curling is a kick-ass sport

The Winter Olympics covers 15 different sports, totaling hundreds of individual disciplines. Excitement is at an all-time high, and people love watching the engaging sports such as Figure Skating, Luge, Bobsleigh, Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing.

Whilst every single sport has it's viewership, I didn’t think I would be an obsessive watcher of Curling. It was amazing. My boyfriend isn’t a big sports fan, but to keep him happy with watching sports every day for weeks on end, I wanted to make sure it was one which he also enjoyed... Curling.

It was so entertaining, to the point where I have even search for a “Curling Centre” to visit, and learn how to “Curl”.

4. Resilience is key

The fourth thing I learned from the Winter Olympics was the importance of resilience and in particular, four athletes; Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Simon Hegstad Krueger and Nathan Chan.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir failed to defend their Vancouver gold in 2014 and decided to retire. After wanting to give it another go, they turned up to Pyeongchang and surprised everyone by winning a gold medal as part of Canada’s team event as well as a gold medal in the individual event.

Simen Hegstad Krueger is a Norwegian cross-country skier who fell at the start of his race. Several skiers landed on top of him, and broke one of his poles. Determined to continue, Simen managed to beat 67 of the other skiers to win a gold medal.

At just 18 years old, Nathan Chen attended his first Olympics with expectations extremely high. He had won a number of events leading up to the Olympics however, he fell (quite epically) in the men's short program, and stumbled on two other landings. He was in 17th place going into the men’s long program, and knew he had nothing to lose.

Nathan Chen landed six quad jumps, achieving an extraordinary technical feet never before seen and one which landed him just outside of the medals.

What did you learn from The Winter Olympics?


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