Triumph, Scandal, and Politics in last days of Olympics

By Megan Beauchamp
Staff Writer

With the Winter Olympics coming to a close, Norway remains on top with 37 medals and counting, 13 of them gold. The other countries that join the Norwegian nation in the top three are Canada and Germany with the United States at a distant fourth place with 21 medals.

Though 21 medals is still an impressive number for any country to boast about, it has not gone unnoticed that Team USA has earned fewer medals than expected, reports CBS Sports. In Sochi, four years ago, the U.S. was also a few medals short of leading the race, however that was by a count of five.

The slump of the Americans did however put other athletes in the spotlight, particularly the Norwegians. The success that the country has accomplished in PyeonChang this year is even more impressive when Tom Tvedt, Norway’s Olympic Committee president spoke of how they prepare. While talking to The Guardian, he stressed how important it is for the athletes to form a connection with local sports clubs so that they can build a genuine love for their sport which ideally will bring them into the Olympics later on in their career.

It also seems that winning stems from a deep sense of comradeship between the athletes. Kjetil Jansrud, a skier who has won a silver medal at the games spoke out saying this, according to the Times. “We believe there is no good explanation or justification for why you have to be a jerk to a good athlete,” said Jansrud. “So, we just won’t have that kind of thing on our team. You have to get along with everyone.” With this kind of unity, it’s easy to see why they have jumped to the top of the medal count.

Among the triumphs and stories of victory in PyeonChang come its fair share of scandals. For some years now, Russian athletes have been marred by revelations of doping and other illicit uses of drugs during the Olympic games. Coming into 2018, all eyes were on the International Olympic Committee, as they held the verdict on whether or not they would allow Russian athletes to compete. Ultimately, 169 athletes were invited to compete under what the IOC designated, “Olympic Athletes from Russia” or neutrals.

The road to the Olympics wasn’t easy for these athletes and still garnered disapproval from critics. It is especially shocking when Russian curler, Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, was stripped of his Olympic bronze medal when he tested positive for a banned drug known as meldonium, as NPR reports.The decision came Thursday from the Court of Arbitration for Sport which opted to disqualify Krushelnitckii and his wife who was also his teammate.

The Hill reports that the closing ceremonies will take place on Feb. 25, Sunday night, with Ivanka Trump leading the U.S. presidential delegation. The Hill reports that during her three-day visit, she will also attend sporting events, but her presence in South Korea is not all in the name of sports. According to the New York Times, the first daughter, and senior advisor said her visit to South Korea was to, “reaffirm our bonds of friendship and partnership” and, “reaffirm our commitment to our maximum-pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean peninsula is denuclearized.”

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