2018 Winter Olympics
The 2018 Winter Olympics opened yesterday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with a timeless opening ceremony. Filled with dancers, drones, fireworks, and dazzling displays of light, South Korea saturated us in their wonderful culture and music to declare messages of peace and love for these winter games.
This year, 206 National Olympic Committees attended the opening ceremony as they prepare to compete in events such as figure skating, skiing, sledding, and snowboarding. Competing together are a host of new athletes like figure skater Alina Zagitova from Russia, and veterans like US skier Lindsey Vonn. As we begin our journey of the Winter Olympics through the end of February, here are five emerging Olympic athletes to keep an eye on these games.
1. Maame Biney: Short Track Speed-Skating
Maame Biney is the first black woman to make the speed skating team, as well as the second African-born athlete to represent America in the Winter Olympics. Biney made international news with her qualification in speed skating in December of 2017. With a reputation for being explosive off the starting line, she’s a master of the 500-meter short track skating and is on the road to win many gold medals from this year’s Winter Games.
2. Nathan Chen: Figure Skating
Nathan Chen is the 18-year old figure skater from Salt Lake City known around the world for being the first athlete to land five quadruple jumps in a single program. Chen landed his first triple jumps at just age ten, training in gymnastics, ballet, and skating. The strength from the years of practice gave him a solid groundwork to train for the Olympics and has urged him to win a gold for individual skating.
3. Elana Meyers Taylor: Bobsled
Daughter of NFL-athlete Eddie Meyers, Elana Meyers Taylor is known around the globe for being the first American female bobsled driver in a world championship to earn a World title in 2015. Inheriting her father’s athleticism, she was inspired by the first African-American to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, Vonetta Flowers. She competes with her husband, Olympic alternate for men’s bobsled Nic Taylor, as one of the most accomplished pilots in bobsled.
4. Chloe Kim: Snowboarding
Chloe Kim won the attention of athletes everywhere when she qualified for the Sochi Winter Olympics at just 13 years old. From Southern California, Chloe is the youngest snowboarder to win a gold medal at the X Games, at just 15, and has medaled in all six of her games. She is also the first female athlete to land three consecutive 1080’s (three revolutions in mid-air). Now in Pyeongchang, she is expected to receive the gold medal for women’s halfpipe.
5. Gus Kenworthy: Freestyle Skiing
Gus Kenworthy joins figure skater Adam Rippon as the first openly gay American athletes to compete in a Winter Olympics. The 2014 slopestyle silver medalist has won the Association of Freeskiing Professionals overall world title seven consecutive times. In Pyeongchang, Gus will compete in both the freestyle and the halfpipe, both of which he is expected to medal in, after winning three gold in Sochi.
The 2018 Winter Olympics is hosted by NBC and will be live until February 25th.