The Winter Olympics: Review
The Winter Olympics have come to a close, but it didn’t come with its fair share of sporting highlights, politically poignant moments, and some light humour. So, I’m going to share the five moments that’ll stick with us for a while to come…
Kamila Valieva Scandal
Teenager? Check. Country already riddled by scandals? Check. Abusive coaches? Check. The Valieva doping scandal is all but set to become the next binge-worthy series on Netflix. So many questions have been brought up since she tested positive for PEDs. Did she really know that she was being given these substances? After it got to her head and she came 4th in the individual event, why was her coach’s response so distressing? But, most of all, what is the distinction between Sha’Carri Richardson (an African-American sprinter) and Valieva? Both took banned substances, yet Richardson was prohibited from the games, and the entire Olympics revolved around Valieva, with medal ceremonies being delayed until further investigations were done. The answers we all crave are yet to come out, so I guess we’ll just have to wait for “I, Kamila”.
Erin Jackson’s Gold Medal
After questions over racist backdrops plaguing the Olympics with the Valieva scandal, it was nice to see Erin Jackson become the first African-American to win a gold medal at the Speed Skating event. Her transition from being an inline skater to bringing her talent onto the ice rink is an inspirational story for African-Americans and people everywhere.
Russian and Ukrainian Hug
With the Russia-Ukraine conflict descending into complete chaos, you could expect a bronze and silver medal from Russia and Ukraine, respectively, in the skiing aerials would carry the same attitudes of their countries. But, the near opposite occurred. The Russian bronze medallist, Ilia Burov, is seen here embracing Ukrainian silver medallist Oleksandr Abramenko. Now, with Russia engaging in a full fledged invasion of Ukraine - this is an important reminder of how the actions of leaders in politically corrupt nations do not often represent the interests of the people.
Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron
Long before the Games opened, there had been political controversy surrounding genocide of Uyghur Muslims in China. This was a major factor in the US’ and many other nations’ diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics. But, in a strong political statement, the torch bearer who lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony was a Uyghur athlete. This could be seen as a superficial attempt to salvage China’s international reputation as it does nothing to change the horrible conditions so many Chinese Uyghurs are living in. So, do we give China the benefit of the doubt and say that this was a move to signify the ending of abuse of these people, or do we take it as a staged political manoeuvre to appease angry citizens of western nations? The cynic in me is inclined to assume the latter.
Remi Lindholm’s Frozen Penis
Remembered, but for all the wrong reasons. The conditions for the Men’s 50km Cross Country Skiing race were so brutal that, despite even shortening the event to 30km, it wasn’t enough to save Lindholm from a repeat (yes… repeat) incident where his penis froze. The incident, like any other injury of this scale, required immediate medical attention where everything was warmed up, at the expense of supposedly terrible pain in a sensitive area.
So: Netflix-worthy scandals, barrier-breaking medallists, a silver lining in a gruelling conflict, staged political statements, and a frozen penis sum up what was an incredibly eventful Olympic Games. Whether for the right or wrong reasons, it will be hard for Milan to top this in 2026.