Norway Leads Medal Count in Beijing

Team Russia figure skating is being investigated for cheating

Team USA figure skating wins the silver medal. If Team Russia is found guilty of cheating, USA may be given the gold medal. From left: Evan Bates, Madison Chock, Alexa Knieirm, Brandon Frazier, Nathan Chen (trains in Irvine), Karen Chen (Fremont, CA) Provided by Hartford Courant

Zeny Tran and Mustang Staff

As the Winter Olympics conclude Norway has once again topped the leader board with 37 medals – 16 gold, 8 silver, 13 bronze. The defending Norway champion Olympic team has won most of their medals in the biathlon (14) and xc skiing (8) events. Biathlon Boe brothers Johannes and Tarjei have secured 6 medals together (3 gold) while Marte Olsbu won 5 medals (3 gold) in women’s biathlon events. XC skiing sensation Therese Johaug won 3 golds, while Johannes Klaebo won 2 golds and a bronze.

At the 2018 Games in South Korea, Norway, with a population of 5 million, outperformed competitors with 39 medals, with 14 of them gold. The biathlon is a race that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The biathlon mixed relay was added to the Olympics in 2014. Each team is composed of two women and two men. All four legs range from 6 km to 7.5 km (3.7-4.7 miles) of skiing. The closing ceremony will begin at 4:00 am PT on February 20 on the NBC Olympics website.

Russia is second in the medals race with 32 medals, but Team Russia is being investigated for cheating in the figure skating competition amid being on probation for state-sponsored doping in Olympic competition. Teen phenom, Kamila Valieva, tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned substance, which helps the endurance levels of athletes. Team Russia’s team figure skating medal ceremony was cancelled due to the investigation.

 

Bolshunov won 3 gold medals in Beijing for the skiathlon, 30km xc ski, and ski relay (Russian Embassy at Yemen)

The Olympic Committee penalized Russia in 2017 for state-sponsored doping, whereby athletes were given performance enhancing drugs to gain advantage in sport. Athletes from Russia were to compete under the names OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia) and ROC (Russian Olympic Committee), and under the five-ring Olympic banner from 2018-2022. The ROC athletes have dominated cross country skiing (11 medals) and skating (6). One of the most decorated Olympians at the Beijing ’22 Games is Russian XC skier Alexander Bolshunov, winner of 5 medals (3 gold), who finished the 30km skiathlon in one hour and 16 minutes. Fellow XC skiiers Alex Terentev and Natalia Nepryaeva both won 3 medals each. Figure skater Anna Shcherbakova won the gold in figure skating, but sat alone in stunned silence in the Kiss and Cry in the wake of the TMZ investigation.

At the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, Team Russia will be permitted to compete under the Russian flag once more. It is unknown if the current figure skating trimetazidine investigation will impact Russia’s eligibility in future games.

Snowboarder Eileen Gu from San Francisco (competes for China) wins her third medal and celebrates by wearing her grandmother’s panda hat – Provided by AP (Yomiuri Shimbun)

America’s first medalists were snowboarder Julia Marino, who silvered in women’s slopestyle and Jaelin Kauf, who silvered in women’s skiing moguls. Team standouts Chloe Kim and Nathan Chen both won gold, but 3x medalist Mikaela Shiffrin failed to reach the podium in Beijing. Veteran Olympians- snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis and bobsledder Elana Meyers- both won 2 medals each. XC skiier Jessie Diggins won 2 medals, collapsing dramatically at the finish due to food poisoning from Olympic Village dining. America’s top events were freestyle skiing (8 medals) and snowboarding (4). 5x Olympian Shaun White became emotional after placing fourth in the half-pipe and contemplating retirement from competition.

China’s biggest stars in the games have been snowboarder Su Yiming (2 medals), figure skating duo Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (1 gold), and freestyle skiier Eileen Gu (3 medals). Gu was born in San Francisco, but renounced her US citizenship to compete for China. “I’m American when I’m in the US, and I’m Chinese when I’m in China,” she replied in post match interviews. While the US does permit dual citizenship, China does not allow dual citizenship. Under Rule 41 of the Olympic charter, Gu must be a Chinese citizen to compete for China. Gu has not declared that she is a Chinese citizen.

The fan favorite “Sunshine Curling Team” from Japan defeated top ranked Switzerland, but lost to Great Britain in the gold medal match.

Closing Ceremony at the Bird’s Nest (NBC Olympics)
Norway wins 37 medals – 14 in biathlon events. The Olympic biathlon involves rifle shooting for speed and accuracy (Eurosport)