Sixteen days of the winter sport’s elite games have just concluded in PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Olympics. I am certain a massive athlete party numbering the thousands is still going on somewhere. It was one of the best winter Olympics I have seen and meant a lot more to me this time considering I actually know a few of the competitors and winners. Having the privilege to meet and interview these athletes really brought it home seeing them rewarded for their life’s passion and sacrifices.

PyeongChang Half Pipe Medal Winners for 2018 - Ayumu Hirano, Shaun White and Scotty James - image courtesy of REUTERS/Issei Kato
PyeongChang Half Pipe Medal Winners for 2018 – Ayumu Hirano, Shaun White and Scotty James – image courtesy of Reuters/Issei Kato

All the winners, and the losers, and even Elizabeth Swaney, deserve congratulations and admiration for their efforts and training and for giving up what most of us call normal lives to compete, win, improve and then represent their countries. Of all the people we interviewed in the lead up to the Olympics I asked the question – “X-Games or Olympics?” and basically all of them answered X-Games.

It hit me while watching the Olympics – most of them are so young they have never been to Olympics, never competed in an event where billions of people are watching around the world. Red Gerard had no idea what the Olympics really were until he won GOLD. I have seen the faces of people who win both X-Games and Olympics – that home-country pride on a face doesn’t beam as much as it does when you know your entire country is watching and supporting you. Winning an Olympic medal is the highest award ANY athlete can hope to gain in their careers.

There have been a lot of highs and a few lows from the Olympics. Seeing The Flying Tomato score his Third Gold Medal and make Olympic history was very cool. Seeing Seb Toots win the inaugural Big Air Olympic Gold was also a highlight. Then to see Red Gerard come from last to first and destroy everyone in the middle for Slopestyle was EPIC. Personal proudest for me was seeing Jarryd Hughes of Australia come in for SILVER in Men’s Slopestyle, he was the first pro snowboarder I met and we have become friends since I interviewed him last year. I know how much of his life is dedicated to the sport and to see that rewarded made my cold dead heart have it’s annual beat.

Then seeing Jamie Anderson and Chloe Kim take their deserved and hard earned GOLD was expected but none the less exciting. It was an honour seeing Ayumu Hirano give Shaun White and Scotty James a run for their money while we were actually in Japan and I was happy to see Mark McMorris score a medal – him and Marcus Kleveland are my two personal hero boarders.

Shaun White Wins Gold at PyeongChang 2018 - Image Courtesy of Getty Images
Shaun White Wins Gold at PyeongChang 2018 – Image Courtesy of Getty Images

 

Some fun facts about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics thanks to CNN:

  • This is the first time South Korea has hosted the Winter Olympics. The 1988 Summer Olympics were held in Seoul, South Korea.
  • The estimated cost of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is $10 billion, five times less than the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which were estimated to be the costliest ever.
  • To avoid any potential confusion with North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, the PyeongChang resort – which is just 50 miles south of the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries – has changed its name for the Games, by capitalizing the “C.”
  • The city lost by three votes to Vancouver for hosting duties in the 2010 Olympics, and by just four votes to Sochi for the 2014 event.
  • Development of high-speed rail lines was key to the country’s Olympic bid, as Pyeongchang is rather isolated. The new train lines allow individuals to travel from Seoul to Pyeongchang in less than an hour.
  • In total, 13 venues, split between Pyeongchang and neighboring Gangneung, are used during the 17 days of the Games. Six new venues were built, and additional venues were renovated for the Games.
  • A record 102 medals will be awarded in 15 disciplines.
PyeongChang Australian Silver Medalist in Snowboard Cross, Jarryd Hughes
PyeongChang 2018 Australian Silver Medalist in Snowboard Cross, Jarryd Hughes

Medalists

Men’s Slopestyle

Gold: Redmond Gerard (United States) – for our interview with Red CLICK HERE

Silver: Max Parrot (Canada)

Bronze: Mark McMorris (Canada)

Women’s Slopestyle 

Gold: Jamie Anderson (United States)

Silver: Laurie Blouin (Canada)

Bronze: Enni Rukajarvi (Finland)

Men’s Halfpipe

Gold: Shaun White (United States)

Silver: Ayumu Hirano (Japan)

Bronze: Scotty James (Australia)

Women’s Halfpipe

Gold: Chloe Kim (United States)

Silver: Liu Jiayu (China)

Bronze: Arielle Gold (United States)

Men’s Snowboard Cross

Gold: Pierre Vaultier (France)

Silver: Jarryd Hughes (Australia) – for our interview with Jarryd CLICK HERE

Bronze: Regino Hernandez (Spain)

 

PyeongChang Gold Medalist in Snowboard Half Pipe, Chloe Kim
PyeongChang Gold Medalist in Snowboard Half Pipe, Chloe Kim. Image Courtesy of Getty Images

 

Women’s Snowboard Cross

Gold: Michela Moioli (Italy)

Silver: Julia Pereira De Sousa Mabileau (France)

Bronze: Eva Samkova (Czech Republic)

Men’s Big Air

Gold: Sebastien Toutant (Canada) – for our interview with Seb CLICK HERE

Silver: Kyle Mack (United States)

Bronze: Billy Morgan (Great Britain)

Women’s Big Air

Gold: Anna Gasser (Austria)

Silver: Jamie Anderson (United States)

Bronze: Zoi Sadowski Synnott (New Zealand)

Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom

Gold: Nevin Galmarini (Switzerland)

Silver: Lee Sang-ho (South Korea)

Bronze: Zan Kosir (Slovenia)

Women’s Parallel Giant Slalom

Gold: Ester Ledecka (Czech Republic)

Silver: Selina Joerg (Germany)

Bronze: Ramona Theresia Hofmeister (Germany)

 

PyeongChang Inaugural Big Air Medal Winners for 2018 - Kyle Mack, Seb Toots and Billy Morgan - image courtesy of KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/ASSOCIATED PRESS
PyeongChang Inaugural Big Air Medal Winners for 2018 – Kyle Mack, Seb Toots and Billy Morgan – image courtesy of Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

 

Medals by Country

While they won zero snowboarding medals, this made me sad Marcus Kleveland, Norway won the Olympics, closely followed by Germany and then Canada. My own country, Australia, came in at 23rd but this is a good result for us considering our snowfalls rival only desert countries. It was wonderful seeing NZ score two medals –  bravo to Zoi Sadowski Synnott and mini skier shredder, Nico Porteous.


Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Norway 14 14 11 39
Germany 14 10 7 31
Canada 11 8 10 29
United States of America 9 8 6 23
Netherlands 8 6 6 20
Sweden 7 6 1 14
South Korea 5 8 4 17
Switzerland 5 6 4 15
France 5 4 6 15
Austria 5 3 6 14
Japan 4 5 4 13
Italy 3 2 5 10
Olympic Athletes from Russia 2 6 9 17
Czech Republic 2 2 3 7
Belarus 2 1 0 3
China 1 6 2 9
Slovakia 1 2 0 3
Finland 1 1 4 6
Great Britain 1 0 4 5
Poland 1 0 1 2
Hungary 1 0 0 1
Ukraine 1 0 0 1
Australia 0 2 1 3
Slovenia 0 1 1 2
Belgium 0 1 0 1
Spain 0 0 2 2
New Zealand 0 0 2 2
Latvia 0 0 1 1
Kazakhstan 0 0 1 1
Liechtenstein 0 0 1 1