Top 8 of 2018: USA Olympic Moments

Claire Wilson and Anuj Khemka

8. Nathan Chen Becomes the First Skater to Land Six Quads in a Single Routine

Nathan Chen entered the Olympics with a weight of expectations on his back, and after a pair of disastrous performances in the team free skate and individual short program, he failed to meet the hype. But Chen left PyeongChang with few regrets as he became the first figure skater to land six quads, one of which he didn’t even tell his coach about, in a single program.  

7. Chris Mazdzer Captures America’s First Medal in Men’s Luge

After a poor World Cup season prior to the Olympics, few were expecting Chris Mazdzer to be anywhere near the podium in men’s luge. Yet, after Mazdzer set a track record in his third run, and luge legend Felix Loch made two crucial errors in his final run, that’s exactly what happened. Mazdzer finished second, becoming the first American man to even win an Olympic medal in luge and joined the five previous American luge medals won in either doubles competitions or women’s singles.

6. Red Gerard Goes From Last to Gold in Men’s Slopestyle

Two runs, two crashes down the slopestyle course, and things were looking bleak for 17-year-old snowboarder Red Gerard, who sat in last place in the men’s slopestyle final. But he crushed his final chance as he took an unique route down the course and ended up on top of the competition

5. USA reclaims bronze in team figure skating

For Team USA, the team figure skating event was a blur of historic and dazzling performances. Mirai Nagasu was the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics, Adam Rippon became the first openly gay U.S figure skater to compete at the olympics, and the Shibutani twins electrified on the rink. Ultimately, the myriad showstoppers culminated in a third place finish for the USA.

4. Chloe Kim Outshines Competition in Women’s Snowboarding Halfpipe

After winning gold medals in at the Winter X Games and Youth Olympic Games, Chloe Kim had everything going for her. Finally old enough to participate in the Olympics, she blew the competition out of the water with a medal-winning score of 93.75 on her first run, and landed back-to-back 1080s in her “victory” third lap to boost her final score to a showstopping 98.25. Her success continues, as she was admitted to Princeton University’s Class of 2022 this past spring.

3. Team USA Runs the Table to Win Gold in Men’s Curling

Coming off an 8-5 loss to Norway, their 4th loss in six games, skip John Schuster’s team found themselves on the brink of elimination. From there, they never lost in PyeongChang again. In the following game, Team Schuster upset curling powerhouse Canada and would repeat the feat in the semifinals. USA then triumphed over top-ranked Sweden to win their first gold (and only second medal ever) in the event.

2. USA Shoots Out Defending Olympic champions for Women’s Hockey Gold

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson approached the net, faked left, then right, and with Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados having lost her balance, pummeled the puck into the net. On the next shot attempt, American goalie Maddie Rooney blocked the puck to help Team USA steal gold from the four-time defending Olympic champions. Feb. 22 would not only arguably become the biggest day in the history of women’s hockey, but it was also the 38th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice,” when the U.S. men’s hockey team beat the Soviet Union in Lake Placid — just icing on the cake (no pun intended).

1. USA Wins by a Ski in Women’s Cross Country Team Sprints

Cross country skiing, like most sports in the winter Olympics, was dominated by countries such as Norway and Sweden. However, on Feb. 21, that changed due to the efforts of two American women. Pushing up a hill with the finish line in sight, three skiers, from USA, Norway, and Sweden, raced their hearts out for the coveted Olympic gold. With just several meters left, Team USA’s Jessica Diggins pulled ahead of Swedish skier Stina Nilsson and stuck her right ski past the finish line just a foot before her. Immediately, Diggins screamed with joy and collapsed to the ground to end a moment that wasn’t just one of Team USA’s most exhilarating moments, but possibly the most exciting moment of the entire Winter Olympics. Diggins and her partner, Kikkan Randall, became the first pair of American women to win a gold medal in cross country skiing.