The Beijing Winter Olympics came to an end yesterday.
IOC President Thomas Bach praised the Chinese for organizing the Winter Olympics, marking the end of the Games. During the closing ceremony, a children’s choir sang You and Me, the theme song of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
The Olympic flame lit throughout the entirety of the Games was extinguished but reappeared as a giant snowflake after a brief pause in the dark, symbolizing that the Olympic spirit would continue in the name of ice and snow. The Olympic Flag was passed to the mayors of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo of Italy, where the next Winter Olympic Games will be hosted.
This year, the Games were held in spite of controversy over Xinjiang Uyghurs’ human rights issues. Despite boycotts from several countries such as the United States and Japan, the Games advanced successfully in Beijing, the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
All 109 medal events at the Games have concluded. Norway topped the medal podium at this year’s Olympic Games, repeating their dominance at 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.
Here are some of the highlights of the Beijing Olympics that you should not miss.
New world records
The motto of the Olympic Games is “Faster, Stronger, Higher – Together”. During the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, several athletes performed beyond their limits and broke numerous world records.
Nils van der Poel, men’s speed skating 10,000m
Nils van der Poel, a Swedish speed skater, broke his own world record for the 10,000m in Olympic speed skating. He finished with a time of 12:30.74, beating the record he set last year of 12:32.95.
Suzanne Schulting, women’s short track 1,000m
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Suzanne Schulting, a Dutch speed skater, raced in the quarter-final of women’s 1,000m speed skating event and finished with a time of 1:26.514, setting a new world record. She eventually won a gold medal in the final later that same day. She also set another Olympic record in women’s 500m.
Nathan Chen, men’s individual short program in figure skating
Nathan Chen, a figure skater from the United States earned a score of 113.97 in his short program, breaking the world record which was previously set by Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan.
Fresh Faces at the Winter Olympics
American-born Eileen Gu, the Chinese “superstar”
18-year-old Eileen Gu of China made her Olympic debut in this year’s Games. Gu was born and and raised in San Francisco, USA, however chose to represent her mother’s home country instead.
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The 18-year-old became the athlete in history to win three medals in freestyle skiing at a single Olympic Games. She secured two gold medals from the halfpipe and big air events and a silver medal from slopestyle.
Since China does not permit its citizens to possess dual citizenship, there is controversy surrounding Eileen Gu’s nationality, as it is uncertain whether or not Gu has given up her US citizenship. Despite this, Gu has solidified herself as a household name in the Chinese-speaking world. State-owned media, such as Global Times, described Gu as a “superstar”.
Kamila Valieva, a gold medalist struck with scandal and stress
By contrast, Russian Kamila Valieva, another teen Olympian has become the face of a drug test scandal and a “tearful” final skating performance.
The Russian figure skater was found positive in her drug test after she won a gold medal for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in the team event. Despite the positive drug test, the 15-year-old was subsequently cleared to compete in the individual figure skating event. Unfortunately, things did not fare well for the Russian as she ended up falling several times during the free skate and finishing the program in tears.
Russia was excluded from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Olympics, and banished from international competitions for four years. Under the ban, Russia’s flag, name, and anthem would not be allowed at the Olympic Games. Russian athletes not implicated in doping are expected to be allowed to compete in the Olympics and other world championships, but only under a neutral flag.
Alexandra Trusova: I hate this sport
Another Russian teen skater, Alexandra Trusova also broke down after her compatriot Anna Shcherbakova defeated her by 4.22 points.
“I hate this sport,” The 17-year-old silver medalist shouted at the side of the rink after her history-making five quadruple jumps. ” I won’t go onto the ice again”
Trusova said in the post-event news conference, “I haven’t been winning major events for three years. I always try to reach a goal, I always add more quads,” highlighting the mental struggle athletes have to endure in order to chase their dreams.
“And when I get to that, I will win. This didn’t happen, that’s why I was upset.”
What about Hong Kong’s very own athletes?
Three athletes represented Hong Kong in this Winter Olympic Games. It is the most Hong Kong has ever sent to a Winter Games and the first time participating in more than one sport.
Adrian Yung, the city’s only alpine skier at the Games
Adrian Yung, a 17-year-old alpine skier, was born in Malaysia and bred in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
“I represent Hong Kong because it’s where I’m from and where my roots are,” Yung told Shroffed via Instagram. “It really was a surprise to be able to qualify and the excitement only really settled in as soon as I started packing to go to Beijing.”
Yung attended two alpine skiing events, men’s slalom and men’s giant slalom, both ended with DNF (Did not finish). “I had two chances but failed them both. I’m a bit devastated.” He told TVB after his final competition in this Games.
“My new goal is to finish (races), because this season I DNF quite a lot, so my confidence has gone down.”
Audrey King, Hong Kong’s second ever women’s alpine skier in the Games
Audrey King, 19, is the second woman alpine skier representing Hong Kong in the Olympics. The first athlete was Arabella Caroline Yili Ng who participated in the 2018 Winter Games.
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King once tested positive for Covid-19 right after she arrived in Beijing. She eventually tested negative and was able to participate in her only event – women’s slalom but finished with a DNF.
“Proud of the journey… huge thank you to everyone who has supported me, my heart is so so full.” King wrote to her supporters on Instagram after finishing her event in the Games.
Sidney Chu, Hong Kong’s flag-bearer
Sidney Chu, a 22-year-old speedskater, competed in the 500m short-track speed skate. He had a final placement of 24th out of 32.
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“Although the race didn’t pan out how I wanted it to, I’m so grateful just to be here. I couldn’t have gotten on the Olympic stage without the help from everyone on my team and all my supporters from Hong Kong.” Chu posted to Instagram.
(Cover photo: Olympics Facebook)