There were a lot of lasts at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, but there were also a lot of firsts, especially for rising athletes. As the Olympics come to a close, take a look back at some of the breakout stars of these games.
The 28-year-old figure skater who just missed the team in 2010 and 2014, finally got his chance to shine in Pyeongchang. After making his Olympic debut in the men’s free skate during the team event, he quickly stole the spotlight and the hearts of viewers across the country. His witty comments off the ice matched his sass on the ice.
Another figure skater who left his mark on these Olympics is Nathan Chen. The 18-year-old skated in the men’s short skate portion of the team event, helping Team USA snag bronze. However, these Games were quite the emotional rollercoaster for Chen. After starting the Olympics off with two of the worst short programs of his career, he quickly rebounded in his free skate. He made history by became the first male to land five clean quads in a single routine. Chen is proof that even if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.
Robert Johansson and his mustache
Maia and Alex Shibutani became the first figure skaters of Asian descent and the first siblings to win an Olympic medal in ice dance. The siblings clinched the bronze medal for the United States in the team event free dance and the bronze for ice dance. The duo’s rise to fame didn’t come easy, as they had to overcome many roadblocks that other figure skating pairs didn’t have to. Being siblings in a sport that is known for having romantic elements didn’t faze the ‘Shib Sibs’. Rather, they embraced their unique relationship and use it to their advantange. The pair has been skating together since 2004 and are the longest tenure pair for the U.S squad.
Ledecka became the first athlete to compete in two sports and win a medal in each of them in the same Games. That’s right. She did what some would deem impossible. Ledecka’s main sport is snowboarding, but in PyeongChang she figured she’d take a shot at Alpine skiing too. She shocked the world when she beat Lindsay Vonn at her own sport and took home the gold medal in the women’s Super- G. Her victory was the first gold medal in Alpine skiing for the Czech Republic. Ledecka also won the gold medal in the parallel giant slalom. She’s living proof that the impossible can be possible. Rock on, Ester.
Alina won the Olympic Athletes from Russia their first gold medal of these Olympic games. Not only did the 15-year-old win her country their first gold of the games, it was her first Olympic medal ever. She came in first place in the ladies free skate, and her best friend and fellow competitor, Yevgenia Medvedeva settled for silver. It’s the first time since the Nagano Olympics 20 years ago that two skaters from the same country have gone 1-2 in the women’s event. Alina may have beaten her best friend, but there is no animosity between the two.