Originally published on cbc.ca/sports
As these Winter Games wind down, there are volumes of patriotically proud performances produced by Canada’s 226 Olympic athletes in Pyeongchang.
Canada’s medal total stands at 29 going into the final few competitions, the most ever won by the nation’s Olympians at a Winter Games, good for an unprecedented second in the overall standings.
Sitting atop those standings is a red, white and blue flag that has dominated these Olympics, and likely not the country that first comes to mind. With a little more than five million inhabitants, Norway has taken home a whopping 38 medals and counting.
With nearly 2,500 athletes from 93 different countries competing in 102 events, spread across 15 different sports, it can be difficult to keep up with the who, what, when, and where of the Games.
Here are some highlights from the past two weeks:
If the sport is on skis then Norway has probably put a flag on it. That’s especially so in cross-country skiing, where they’ve tied the record of 13 medals in a single Games set by the former Soviet Union in Calgary 30 years ago.
A record they may yet break with one cross-country event remaining.
History, however, was already made on Day 12 when Marit Bjoergen captured her 14th Olympic medal and her fourth in Pyeongchang. The 37-year-old’s bronze in the women’s team sprint free final made her the most decorated winter Olympian of all time.
It’s a record she jokes may not last, considering 21-year-old countryman Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo has taken three gold medals for Norway in South Korea alone. The wins tie Klaebo with French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most gold medals thus far in Pyeongchang.
The Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka pulled off perhaps the most improbable feat of the Games. The 22-year-old became the first Olympian to compete in both alpine and snowboard events at the same Olympics.
And then won gold in both.
She was a longshot winner in the women’s super giant slalom last week — on borrowed skis, no less —and then followed that up with gold in the parallel snowboard giant slalom — her own board, at least.
Perhaps the only force to equal Norway’s dominance — at least in the beginning — was the wind. It wreaked havoc on the alpine schedule, forcing the men’s downhill and then the women’s giant slalom to be postponed.
When they didn’t subside, organizers on Day 2 were forced to cancel the women’s snowboard slopestyle qualifiers. A day later boarders were again affected, crashing or giving up on 41 of the 50 attempted runs in the final.
One of the few to successfully avoid disaster was Canadian Laurie Blouin, who won silver in slopestyle.
House of Orange
While the wind played havoc on the mountain, the Dutch were creating a whirlwind of their own inside the oval. To date the Netherlands had won 14 speed-skating medals. And while it’s far off the mark of 23 that they set in Sochi, they remain the undisputed masters.
Ireen Wust claimed a record 10th and then 11th Olympic speed skating medals with gold in the women’s 1,500-metre and silver in the women’s team pursuit . She won her first silver in Pyeongchang following a heartbreaking 0.08 second loss to compatriot Carlijn Achtereekte in the 3,000.
No less impressive was Sven Kramer’s gold in the men’s 5,000 — his third straight in this distance. Kramer was hoping for more in the men’s 10,000 but was kept off the podium by Canada’s own flying Dutchman, Ted-Jan Bloeman, who snagged gold, followed by Jorrit Bergsma of … you guessed it, the Netherlands.
There were 12 luge medals up for grabs in Pyeongchang; Germany nabbed six, including three of four possible gold.
Natalie Geisenberger delivered top honours in the women’s event, while the Bayern Express pair of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won in men’s doubles. Germany’s third gold medal came in the team event.
Germany would have swept the women’s podium if not for Canada’s Alex Gough. Her third-place finish behind Geisenberger and silver medallist Dajana Eitberger was followed by yet another German, Tatjana Huefner in fourth.