What a night for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Figure skater Nathan Chen built on a near flawless world-record-setting short program performance (113.97 points) to earn his first Olympic gold medal in the men’s free skate.
Chen’s win came on the heels of snowboarder Chloe Kim‘s historic showing. Kim grabbed gold with an outstanding first run in the women’s halfpipe finals. With Kim’s victory, she became the first woman in Olympic history to win back-to-back gold medals in the event.
The men’s hockey tournament got underway Wednesday morning with Denmark pulling the upset of the Czech Republic and the Russian Olympic Committee beating Switzerland.
The Americans open the tournament Thursday morning against China. What do you need to know about each team? We got it.
Nathan Chen fulfills his Olympic destiny
Nathan Chen did it! After four long years, he finally earned his Olympic crown — and he had fun doing it. Chen nailed his five quad jumps, boogied to Elton John and would have brought down the house had there been a crowd. His total score was an unbelievable 332.60 points.
Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama, 18, won silver with a huge total score of 310.05, beating out countryman Shoma Uno, the 2018 silver medalist.
Despite finishing eighth in the short program after an uncharacteristic mistake, Yuzuru Hanyu missed the podium by only one spot. He attempted a quad axel in his free skate but did not land it. American Jason Brown finished in sixth. — Elaine Teng
What a Free Skate from Nathan Chen!
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 10, 2022
That’s two-time gold medalist Chloe Kim, to you …
Chloe Kim placed her hands on her ears, screaming at the end of her first run. She had two more runs left to go, but she already knew that run could very well make her the two-time Olympic champion. A frontside 1080. A cab 900. A switch backside 540. A cab 1080. There was nobody in the competition who could outperform that run.
And, defend her gold medal it did.
The scoreboard read 94.00.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 10, 2022
CHLOE KIM. pic.twitter.com/LEaxoNsDkx
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) February 10, 2022
Kim fell in her second and third run, trying to compete with her own score, but it didn’t matter. Her score from her first run stuck, and the 21-year-old is now a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Spain’s Queralt Castellet took silver, and Japan’s Sena Tomita took bronze. — Aishwarya Kumar
LOVE YOU @ChloeKim ❤️❤️❤️
— Adam Rippon (@AdamRippon) February 10, 2022
Chloe Kim!!! 👏🏽 Maybe I should start eating churros before competition too? 😂
— Gabby Thomas (@ItsGabrielleT) February 10, 2022
I just ate churros to celebrate @ChloeKim!!!
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) February 10, 2022
Shiffrin undecided on super-G
According to an official with the U.S. Ski & Snowboarding team, Mikaela Shiffrin will train today and will then decide about her status for Friday’s super-G race depending on how she feels on the course. She is expected to make her decision on competing in the super-G in time for the team captains’ meeting late Thursday afternoon.
As Shiffrin is capable of skiing in every event, it is not unusual for her to make late decisions about her participation in each one, but she had stated her hope to compete in all five at the start of the Games. She was uncertain after her DNF in the slalom race if she would still do that, but as of now, is still expected to participate in next week’s downhill and combined events, in addition to the super-G. — D’Arcy Maine
Shiffrin’s support system for the win
It’s no secret it has been a rough Olympic Games thus far for Shiffrin. The 26-year-old arrived in Beijing with sky-high expectations but has recorded two DNF results in her first two races.
But thankfully for Shiffrin, she has a great support system — starting with her boyfriend and fellow skier, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Also in Beijing and having won the bronze medal earlier this week in the super-G competition, Kilde took to Instagram after Shiffrin’s disappointing slalom performance.
The pressure we all put on individuals in the sports are enormous, so let’s give the same amount of support back,” Kilde wrote in part. “It’s all about the balance and we are just normal human beings!! I love you Kaela.”
And, as if that wasn’t sweet enough, Shiffrin responded with a tweet of her own about what Kilde means to her. You might want to get the tissues ready because this is truly just the best. — D’Arcy Maine
— Mikaela Shiffrin (@MikaelaShiffrin) February 9, 2022
Disqualifications rock mixed ski jump’s Olympic debut
The mixed ski jump team event was thrust into the limelight Wednesday, and not for the obvious reasons (its Olympic debut). Five women ski jumpers — all of whom were medal contenders — were disqualified after officials announced that their suits were “too big and offered an aerodynamic advantage,” TODAY reported. The athletes and their teams (Germany, Norway, Austria and Japan) responded strongly: Some were reduced to tears, while others expressed outrage.
🇸🇮 Slovenia won the mixed team #skijumping gold but the big talking point of the event’s first appearance at the #Olympics was a series of disqualifications that hit the favorites and meant world champions Germany failed to make the final https://t.co/hWR66nNZB5 pic.twitter.com/0whUb5aZSn
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 8, 2022
Germany’s Katharina Althaus, one of the disqualified athletes who won silver in the individual ski jumping event just days before, told Agence France-Presse that her suit has been checked innumerable times in her 11-year career and that she has always been compliant.
“We were looking forward to the second competition at the Olympics. FIS destroyed that with this action — they destroyed women’s ski jumping,” Althaus told reporters. “Our names are now [out] there, and we just pulled the crap card. That is how you destroy nations, development and the entire sport.” — Aishwarya Kumar
Event schedule (all times ET)
11:00 p.m.: Men’s hockey prelim — Sweden vs. Latvia.
1:00 a.m.: Men’s snowboard cross finals.
1:00 a.m.: Men’s curling round-robin — USA vs. Sweden.
1:15 a.m.: Men’s alpine skiing combined slalom finals.
2:00 a.m.: Women’s cross-country skiing 10km finals.
3:30 a.m.: Men’s hockey prelim — Finland vs. Slovakia
6:00 a.m.: Freestyle skiing aerials mixed team finals.
7:00 a.m.: Women’s curling round-robin — USA vs. Denmark.
7:00 a.m.: Women’s speed skating 5000m finals.
8:00 a.m.: Men’s hockey prelim — USA vs. China.
8:00 a.m.: Men’s hockey prelim — Canada vs. Germany.
8:30 a.m.: Luge team relay finals.