The Best Moments From the 2018 Winter Olympics Over the Weekend
Although there’s still a little less than a week left of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang to go, it’s already safe to say the Games have blessed the world with plenty of wild, hilarious, and otherwise memorable moments that’ll stick with us long after the Closing Ceremony on February 25. Lovable and relatable characters like Adam Rippon, Red Gerard, Mikaela Shiffrin, that shirtless Tongan guy, and many others have made these Winter Games unlike any others in recent memory.
But unless you’ve been glued to multiple TV screens for a nonstop Olympics marathon over the last few days, chances are you missed at least a few of the biggest moments from over the weekend. Unlike the current medal count, staying up to speed on all the notable happenings at the Olympics is admittedly difficult, you know, like understanding figure skating scoring or curling. That’s why we gathered a bunch of highlights from this weekend for a handy guide to what you may have missed.
Nathan Chen is once again the 'Quad King'
After disappointing, mistake-laden performances in the team and short program competitions last week, American figure skater Nathan Chen took to the Olympic ice for one last time late on Friday night (United States time) for the free skate competition and -- finally -- blew everyone's minds with a spectacular performance. Although he had only planned on performing five quads, or quadruple jumps, the 18-year-old ended up pulling off six of the extremely difficult jumps -- more than anyone has ever done in an Olympic event. He didn't end up getting a medal for his spectacular performance, but he sure did make some history.
“This is the Nathan Chen we know," NBC Analyst Johnny Weir said during the event. "It was almost like a little kid at the playground, just popping off these quads for fun. This is why he was a gold medal favorite coming into these Games. He is technically brilliant and so great artistically. This was about so much more than all the things he does well. This performance was about who he is as a person, and the strength of character he has."
Analyst Tara Lipinski suggested a new nickname.
"He’s superhuman," she said. "Nathan Chen is still the Quad King. He was planning five quads and instead did six. That was so gutsy, under so much pressure. He should really be named Nathan Quad. Let’s just change his name to Nathan Quad.”
The 'Ice Prince' defends his title
Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan's "Ice Prince" and arguably the greatest male figure skater in the world, defended his title with a huge gold medal win in the men's free skate competition late on Friday night into early Saturday morning. In fact, Hanyu earned the second-highest score in the competition of all time with a 111.68. Not only was this a historic moment for men's figure skating, but it also marked the 1,000th medal event in Winter Olympics history. As expected, Hanyu's many fans in the stadium bombarded him with Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals.
“He absolutely threw it down," NBC Analyst Scott Hamilton said at the time. "Second-best [short program] of all-time to … Hanyu [laughter].”
Weir also weighed in on the spectacular feat, saying, "Yuzuru Hanyu in the short program was like liquid silk."
Gus Kenworthy's Olympic kiss
Gus Kenworthy is competing in his second Winter Olympics. In his first Games, he was closeted and had to keep his boyfriend a secret. He later said the situation made him feel like a "coward."
Two years later, the American skier came out. Four years from Sochi, and he's back at the Olympics. Kenworthy is at the Games with his boyfriend, actor Matt Wilkas. Before Kenworthy competed in slopestyle Saturday night, NBC showed Kenworthy give Wilkas a kiss. It marks a significant shift in the way openly gay athletes are covered by the Olympics rightsholder.
"To be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible," Kenworthy said after the race. "The only way to really change perceptions, to break down barriers, break down homophobia, is through representation. That's definitely not something I had as a kid. I never saw a gay athlete kissing their boyfriend at the Olympics. I think if I had, it would've made it easier for me."
Unfortunately, after winning silver in Sochi, Kenworthy was unable to medal in PyeongChang.
Team USA's eight-year individual speed skating medal draught came to an end
The US hasn't managed to earn a medal in an individual speed skating competition since the Vancouver Games in 2010. But that all changed on Saturday when a huge crash during the men's 1000m short-track speed skating final wiped out most of the field, leaving only Team USA's John-Henry Krueger and Canadian Samuel Girard in the competition. While Girard took the gold medal in the event, Krueger finished just behind him for the silver medal. And, well, you could see the disbelief on his face.
The look on this Olympian's face when she won gold
When Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka, a snowboarder, strapped on some skis she borrowed from Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin for the women's Super-G competition, she wasn't necessarily aiming for first place and Olympic glory. With that said, it's no wonder why she -- and everyone else present at the event, for that matter -- simply couldn't believe her near-flawless run. As the broadcast commentators incredulously remarked about Olympics history unfolding before their eyes, Ledecka swooped across the finish to clinch the gold medal by just one hundredth of a second.
The look of pure shock on her face upon learning of the result is, well, priceless.
The German bobsled team's sideways finish
During Sunday's opening runs for two-man bobsled, the German duo of Christian Poser and pilot Nico Walther went all out to take the lead in their second run. Their run ended in a high-speed crash that saw them cross the finish line with the sled on its side. (Sleds on this track were regularly clocked going over 86 mph.) Thankfully, neither rider was injured.
Somehow, the Germans managed to finish the first day in gold medal position despite crashing their way across the finish line.
Leslie Jones, Tara Lipinski, and Johnny Weir slayed
With the arrival of Leslie Jones in PyeongChang as an NBC commentator, it was only a matter of time before some form of hilarity broke out behind the scenes. Well, look no further than a music video (shown above) Jones created with NBC figure skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir to Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love." It's exactly what'd you'd imagine these three would do between broadcasts, and more.
Check back during the games for all of Thrillist’s continuing Olympics coverage. Think of us like an all-knowing friend watching along with you to answer all the important questions, like how heavy are Olympic medals. We'll explain everything from curling rules and figure skating scoring to what OAR means, why winning athletes are receiving stuffed animals and much, much more.