The 2022 Winter Olympics are in full swing over in Beijing, China! I’m not usually a huge sports fan, but something about the Olympics just lures me in!
This past summer I even chose the Olympics as a research project for my internship with the Smithsonian where I created an online exhibit about historical discrimination in the Olympics. If you are interested, you can access my research here!
The 2022 Olympics have been fun to watch so far, and there’s still more to come. I am fascinated by the talent, the stunning performances, and the stories behind the athletes! Here is a list of some of my favorite athletes I’ve seen this year!
- Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier
Gilles and Poirer are a stunning team of figure skaters representing team Canada! Poirer recently came out as gay, so the duo wore rainbow feathers on top of their gorgeous orange jumpsuits to symbolize LGBTQ+ rights. They also skated to queer icon, Elton John, with his songs “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” and “I’m Still Standing”. They missed the podium, but their statement definitely made a mark on the world.
- Nathan Chen
Chen was yet another amazing figure skater at the Olympics this year, winning the gold for team USA in his beautiful singles free skate. He also happened to dance to a medley of Elton John, and took everyone’s breath away as his skills and personality stole the show. Chen also became the first Asian American man to win a medal in figure skating history and was touchingly able to do so in China, his parent’s homeland.
- Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgatner
These two American snowboarders worked together in the Mixed team snowboard cross where they brought home the gold! This was an incredible feat for Jacobellis, 36, and Baumgatner, 40, two of the oldest Winter Olympic competitors. This performance was Baumgatner’s first ever gold medal and Jacobellis’s second gold, Jacobellis received her first days before in the Women’s Snowboard cross. These “80’s Babies” still got it!
- Chloe Kim
Another U.S. snowboarder, Chloe Kim, showed off her remarkable talent by winning the gold medal in the Women’s Halfpipe! Kim, 17 years old at the time, made history at the 2018 Olympics where she became the youngest woman ever to win gold in snowboarding. Her legacy continues as she exceeds the world’s expectations time after time. And even though Kim has gained international fame, she seems approachable and relatable. For instance, the other day during her press conference she asked the audience for snacks. Gotta love that gen-z energy.
- Tabitha and Tara Peterson
Tabitha and Tara are a pair of sisters who are teammates in the U.S. Olympic curling team! Their family brought them to a curling facility when they were 10 and 8 years old, and the girls developed a love for the sport that has continued to this day. The Peterson sisters are now in their early thirties and say that their sisterly dynamic helps them out as teammates. Beijing is Tabitha’s second Olympic games and Tara’s first. As of right now, it doesn’t look like they will place on the podium, but their talent is nonetheless exceptional.
- Erin Jackson
Jackson, a U.S. speed skater, made history at this year’s games as she became the first ever African American to win an Olympic speed skating medal. The 29-year old won gold in an exhilarating 500m race this past Sunday. During the medal ceremony, Jackson shed a few tears, a powerful symbol of all the hard work she has put into this moment. She is an inspiration, and her Olympic career has only just begun.
- Timothy Leduc
Leduc is yet another phenomenal figure skater a part of the Olympics this year. Along with skating partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, they are one of the pairs competing for team U.S.A. While their skating skills alone are astonishing, Leduc is gaining international recognition for being the first openly non-binary athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics! They recently stated to the press, “My hope is that the narrative shifts more to queer people can be open and successful in sports, We’ve always been here, we’ve always been a part of sports. We just haven’t always been able to be open”.
This is just a brief list of the hundreds of exceptional athletes from the 2022 Winter Olympics. They all radiate extraordinary talent and have shattered records, goals, and public expectations. Olympic athletes from all over the world constantly surprise and amaze me with their raw talent and stories.