Winning Gold in the Cold

Ellen Sharp, Crown Writer


Patriotism is always important to an individual and their country. Wherever someone is from, they want to support their country and its athletes.  Patriotism can be expressed every day, but every 4 years there is a great opportunity for everyone to show their support and love for their country. Watching the Olympics in the warmth of a home, cheering on countries all around the world, makes each person a bit more patriotic.  With so many issues in our world, people have a chance to come together and forget about the problems for a while. Athletes and spectators with different languages, religions, beliefs, and cultures come together for one month to support one another and compete in the Winter Olympic Games. This February, the Winter Olympics were held in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Opening Ceremonies gathered 2,952 athletes from 92 countries with billions of spectators watching all over the world. 16 days, 300 events, and 35 different sports create more excitement as the games go on.

There have been 23 Winter Olympic Games held in 20 cities every year, each just as exciting as the last. The U.S. athletes have won a total of 2,522 medals (1,022 of them being gold) at the Summer Olympic Games and another 282 at the Winter Olympic Games. The United States has just celebrated their 100th gold medal in the history of Olympic games. Shaun White, a 4-time snowboarder for the U.S., was the one who received the medal. “Shaun White is an amazing snowboarder. When I was watching him receive the 100th gold medal, I was freaking out because I wanted him to win,” Gianna Kolner (12) says nervously. While White was training for the 2018 Olympics in New Zealand, he had a bad crash, resulting in extremely horrible injuries. “Watching White make a comeback from his injury was really inspiring to me,” Gianna continues. In the 2014 Sochi Olympics, White took 4th in the games; being unhappy with his performance, he wanted redemption. “Knowing that he took 4th and wanted to get redemption made it more exciting to watch because, in my opinion, he is the best,” Kolner stated. Shaun White has never given up. Even after a fall, he says, “You take a crash, you get back up, and next time you succeed, and that’s a great feeling.” All Americans were proud to see White get back up again and succeed. The U.S. has not had the most medals in the Winter Olympic Games, but this year has been most historical. Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins added a new gold to the U.S. trophy case in the cross-country skiing team sprint. The last time the U.S. has won a trophy in this event was in 1976, but that medal was only silver. Making U.S. history in these Olympic games makes watching them more exciting and eventful to watch.

One of the most calming and graceful sports in the Winter Olympics to watch is figure skating. It takes heart and talent to be a graceful skater. American figure skaters, Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, have a special bond with one of Marian Central’s own, Julia Jenkner (12). Jenkner has known them since she was very young, and they skated and trained together for many years. Jenkner was a bridesmaid in the Knierim wedding. “Watching them makes me so incredibly proud. Alexa went through a lot the past two years with multiple surgeries and tests which almost went fatal.” The Knierims have been working hard not only to participate in the sport they love but to also show love for the USA. Training, moving to Colorado, and devoting lots of hours into skating also shows the dedication to the sport and country. “It’s so overwhelming to see them on TV and having them send pictures to me because we always talked about going to the Olympics, and they’re finally there! It’s also amazing getting free USA gear!” Jenkner loves watching her best friends and is supporting them the entire way!

The Olympics not only have sports that are well-known, but there are also some uncommon sports. Luge, a light toboggan for one or two people, is ridden by lying on the spine. Although this sport is not well- known, it does not mean there are not a large number of athletes. Team USA athlete, Chris Mazdzer, make history in the 2018 winter games, receiving the first men’s Olympic luge medal of any kind in U.S. history. “I knew I could do it,” Mazdzer said. “It was a blast. It didn’t feel as crazy as it probably looked. But I felt in control, and yeah, it was amazing.” Winning silver in this event gave Team USA hope in more medals in sports like these. Another relatively-unknown sport is the skeleton. This sport is very similar to luge, but individuals race on their stomachs.  Although USA has not won in this event, watching these athletes show enthusiasm towards countries no matter what sport is being cheered for. Curling, a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a center target area, is well-known, but always the most popular sport to watch during the Olympics. In these events, men and women have to be extremely coordinated in which they have to perfectly slide the stone to either knock other teams stones out of the way or to make it in the “house,” the center circle. Other teammates sweep the access ice away in order to persuade the stone in a certain way or to make it go faster.  Events like these make the Olympics a great place to learn about a new sport.

The love of sports is always something special to the American person. The idea of watching sports on their couches and rooting for their country never gets old. Throughout the struggles of the world, these two weeks of competition brings everyone together for just a little bit to have some fun. When the Olympics come around, the biggest talk around the world is all of the countries coming together to set aside their differences and be the best athletes they can be.