Triumph and scandal: What happened in the Winter Olympics

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(Graphic Illustration by Charlie Cohen | The Collegian)

CTV Sports: Madeline Davis and Ruby Kayser

Braidon Nourse, Sports Reporter

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are in the books. 

This year’s Olympics had everything: scandal, heartbreak, outstanding and world-record performances — and the games did not disappoint. 

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Norway ranked first in number of both gold medals and total medals, tallying 16 and 37, respectively. The United States of America tied for fourth in golds with eight and placed fifth in total medals with 25. 

The first competitions were held on Feb. 2, when the luge and curling events began. Two days later, the opening ceremony took place at the Beijing National Stadium. After almost three weeks of intense, nearly non-stop competition, the closing ceremony took place on Feb. 20, when the Olympic torch was extinguished.

“If there is one thing that makes the Olympics so special, it’s the performances that stand alone in the history books.”

Heartbreak

An American legend competed in his last Olympic Games. Over the course of almost two decades, Shaun White has become a household name for his stellar snowboarding and skateboarding resume. He has accumulated three Olympic gold medals in his career.

This year’s games marked White’s fifth Olympic appearance. Hoping to cap off his incredible career with one last stance on the podium, disaster struck when he fell on his final halfpipe attempt. This shortcoming saw his rank fall to fourth place, just missing the podium in his last competition.

Scandal

In recent Winter Olympic history, Russia has been a major talking point for all the wrong reasons. In 2014, a number of Russian athletes were found to be using illegal substances during the games in Sochi, Russia. In 2018, the country was effectively banned from the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but athletes who were able to pass strict rules and tests were allowed to compete under an “Olympic athlete from Russia” designation rather than in their country’s colors.

Another doping issue involving an athlete from Russia made headlines over the course of the 2022 games. Fifteen-year-old figure skating phenom Kamila Valieva emerged as a front-runner for the gold medal in the women single skating — free skating competition. Midway through her campaign, it was announced that she tested positive for a heart medication banned by the International Olympic Committee.

Despite the positive test, she was allowed to complete her free skating campaign. Even though she was a favorite to win the gold, she fell multiple times in her final performance and took fourth in the event.

Record-breaking performances

If there is one thing that makes the Olympics so special, it’s the performances that stand alone in the history books — those incredible feats of human ability that only the Olympics can provide. Here are five world records that were set during these games:

Nils van der Poel (Sweden): men’s speed skating 10,000-meter with a time of 12 minutes, 30.74 seconds

Suzanne Schulting (Netherlands): women’s short track 1,000-meter with a time of 1:26.514

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Nathan Chen (United States of America): figure skating, men’s individual short program with a high score of 113.97

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong (People’s Republic of China): figure skating, pairs short program with a high score of 84.41

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (France): figure skating, ice dance with a high score of 90.83

Reach Braidon Nourse at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @BraidonNourse.