The Olympics have passed the halfway point and have been full of triumph, controversy and concerning geopolitics. So pretty much standard.
Here are the top moments and issues to know about so far:
- The big figure skating drama
Russian Olympic Committee skater, Kamila Valieva, who performed two quadruple jumps in the figure skating team competition (the first woman in Olympic history to do so) tested positive for a banned substance and is facing a hearing to determine if she can continue to compete in the individual women’s competition as well as if the Gold medal earned by the Russian Olympic Committee in the team event will be stripped and given to the runners up, the United States. The hearing to determine eligibility for the individual women’s event concluded on Sunday and the final ruling will be given late Sunday night or Monday morning.
- Erin Jackson winning 500m women’s speed skating for team USA as the first ever black woman to do so
The 500-meter skate is the shortest in the speedskating series and therefore the easiest to miss-step. But Team USA’s Erin Jackson or “speedy EJ” as her teammates call her, kept her cool and sailed to victory just ahead of the competitor from Japan and the Russian Olympic Committee. Jackson is also the first woman to win a speed skating gold medal for team USA since 1994.
- The all rookie Team USA Men’s Hockey team continues to inspire
The year Team USA’s Men’s hockey team is made up of not only all rookies, but all college boys. Every player played for their college teams and 15 of them still play for their college teams back home. The team defeated Canada in a hotly contested game and then Germany to earn a bye into the quarterfinals. They remain undefeated and could go all the way to gold.
- Team USA dominates the snowboarding events
Beloved Team USA veteran, Shaun White, barely missed a final medal in his last Olympic performance but the legacy he left with Team USA is still strong. Chloe Kim, who took home women’s halfpipe gold at age 17 in the 2018 games, came back to repeat her victory in the Beijing games. Linsey Jacobellis took two golds for team USA, the first in the individual women’s cross event and then again in the mixed team event with partner Nick Baumgartner. Julia Marino also took home a very narrowly decided silver medal for team USA in the slopestyle event.
- Team USA’s Women’s Hockey Team moves to semifinals
Along with the men’s team, the United States’ hockey team has been dominating the ice and are moving on to the semi-finals. If the stars align, Team USA could take both the mens and womens medals.
- Japanese Half-pipe snowboarding competitor, Kaishu Hirano launched himself 25 feet in the air
Breaking the world record, Kaishu Hirano of Japan rocketed himself 24.4 feet into the air off the half pipe and then landed like it was nothing. This guy didn’t even get a medal. The men’s halfpipe is that competitive.
- Shaun White’s emotional standing ovation
Despite finishing fourth and narrowly missing a final Olympic medal, the world knows who paved the way. As White completed his final run, his competitors lined up at the bottom of the hill and stood to applaud the athlete who defined the sport for the last two decades.
- Olympic curling continues to fascinate
Team USA’s Team Shuster continues to bring personality and style to an event that can’t help but fascinate and confuse viewers everywhere. The team lost their first match against Canada but bounced back with a victory over China. They remain in the tournament style round-robin tied for sixth vying for a spot in the finals.