My 18 most dominant gold medalists at the Olympics, choosing at least one from each sport …
1. Ester Ledecka, Czech Republic, Alpine Skiing/Snowboarding
Arguably the greatest athlete on the planet after taking surprise gold in Alpine skiing’s super-G and snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom (where she was the clear favorite). The 22-year-old became the third athlete to win individual Winter Olympic gold medals in different sports, the first since 1932 and the first woman. The other two were done in cross-country skiing and Nordic combined, the latter being a mixture of ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Ledecka’s feat was certainly more impressive.
2. Marit Bjørgen, Norway, Cross-Country Skiing
The most decorated athlete at the Games with five medals, including two golds. Bigger, though, is that the 37-year-old mom broke countryman Ole Einar Bjørndalen’s record for career Winter Olympic medals, finishing with 15. She also tied Bjørndalen and Bjørn Dæhlie’s record of eight Winter Olympic titles by winning the last event of the Games, the 30km, by 109 seconds, the largest Olympic cross-country margin of victory in 38 years. In her final career Olympic race.
3. Yun Sung-Bin, South Korea, Skeleton
Under host-nation pressure, the man in the Iron Man helmet had the fastest run in each of the four heats and won by 1.63 seconds, the largest margin in Olympic skeleton history.
4. Cassie Sharpe, Canada, Freestyle Skiing
Sharpe took four halfpipe runs of consequence between qualifying and finals, and they were the four highest scores of the entire competition. Her fifth run, the very last of the final, was then a victory lap with gold already clinched.
5. Chloe Kim, USA, Snowboarding
Had the two highest scores in halfpipe qualifying, plus the two highest scores in the final. Her winning run included back-to-back 1080s, which no other woman has ever done.
6-7. Francesco Friedrich/Thorsten Margis, Germany, Bobsled
Gold in two- and four-man bobsled, sharing the title with Canada in the former. Though Friedrich is the driver, the brakeman Margis deserves recognition since they combined to have the four fastest start times in the entire two-man competition.
8. John Morris, Canada, Curling
Though Canada’s men’s and women’s teams shockingly missed the medals altogether, its mixed doubles team of Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes dominated. They went 6-1 in round robin, then won their semifinal in seven ends and their final in six. Morris, a 39-year-old who played on Canada’s 2010 Olympic title team, had the best shooting percentage of the field with two of his best games coming in the playoffs.
9-10. Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt, Germany, Luge
Fastest in both runs in doubles, just as they were in 2014. Though this year’s winning margin of .088 was the slimmest in 20 years. Also had the fastest doubles run in the team relay that Germany won for a second straight Games.
11. Alina Zagitova, Olympic Athletes from Russia, Figure Skating
The only figure skater who didn’t lose either a short or free program. The youngest Olympic singles champion aside from Tara Lipinski broke the world record score in the short program. She also dazzled in the team event, putting up the second-best free skate score under the current judging system.
12. Jorien ter Mors, Netherlands, Short Track, Speed Skating
Perhaps overshadowed by Ledecka, Ter Mors also earned medals in two sports. She broke the Olympic and sea-level records to win long track’s 1000m, then was part of the Netherlands’ world-record, bronze-medal team in short track’s 3000m relay.
13. Eric Frenzel, Nordic Combined
Frenzel missed triple gold by eight tenths of a second. He won the normal hill by almost five seconds and was part of a German sweep in the large hill, taking bronze. He also had the fastest cross-country leg in the relay that Germany of course won.
14. Marcel Hirscher, Austria, Alpine Skiing
At last won his first Olympic gold medal (super combined), then added a second (giant slalom). If Hirscher won the slalom, instead of DNFing in the discipline for the first time in two years, he might be No. 2 on this list.
15. Laura Dahlmeier, Germany, Biathlon
Dahlmeier was arguably the most dominant athlete of the 2017 World Championships season – winning five golds and a silver in six events – and was once again the best biathlete here, taking two individual golds and a bronze. She would have added two relay medals if not for teammates’ struggles.
16. Maren Lundby, Norway, Ski Jumping
The Lillehammer resident posted the highest scores in both rounds to win by 12 points, larger than the margin of victory in either men’s individual event.
17. Slava Voynov, Olympic Athletes from Russia, Hockey
One of two defensemen on the media all-star team and named the best defenseman overall by officials from all teams and the IIHF. Also led the tournament in plus/minus. Forward Ilya Kovalchuk was named MVP by the media. Nikita Gusev led the tournament in scoring with 12 points (second-most was nine). Goalie Vasily Koshechkin had a great tournament until letting in three German goals in the final. But Voynov is our Russian pick.
18. Arianna Fontana, Italy, Short Track
Her fourth Olympics were her best. Fontana made the final of all four events and earned a medal of every color.