American snowboarder Shaun White celebrates as he competes in his final Winter Olympics. PHOTO: Lee Jin-man
Chinese American athlete Eileen Gu bites the gold medal she won in the freeski halfpipe. PHOTO: Quartz

Now that the Olympic flag has been passed from Beijing to the hosts of the 2026 Winter Olympics, Milan and Cortino, the 2022 Winter Olympics have officially come to an end. The Games lasted from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, with Norway winning the most gold medals (16), Germany coming in second place and China coming in third. The United States came in fourth place, decorated with eight gold medals, 10 silver and seven bronze (25 total).

Figure skating is always a thrilling sport to watch, and the performances were stellar this year. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) won the most gold medals in figure skating, followed by the U.S. in second place. As predicted, Nathan Chen was the only U.S. figure skater to win the gold, which he did as a single skater. He skated to Fanfare Ciocarla’s “Caravan,” and landed an extraordinary backflip during his performance. Chen became the first American to win a gold medal in this category since 2010, scoring a remarkable 113.97 short-program score and a 218.63 free-skating score. 

Chinese American athlete Eileen Gu dominated in freestyle skiing this year. She won the gold in the freeski halfpipe and became the first athlete to win medals for three different freestyle skiing events. Not only is she an influence for those who love freeskiing, but she is also a role model for those struggling to navigate between two different nationalities. Even though she was born in San Francisco and her father is American, her mother is Chinese, so Gu chose to represent China in the 2022 Olympics. “Both experiences in the two countries made me who I am. I am American when I am in America, and I am Chinese when I am in China,” she said. Some Americans feel betrayed by her choosing to compete with China, calling the 18-year-old athlete a “traitor.” According to Fox News, former U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley and comedian Bill Maher slammed her for representing a country with a history of abuse. 

In the speedskating competition, American Erin Jackson took home the gold medal in the women’s 500-meter speed skating competition, and also made history by becoming the first Black woman to win a medal in speed skating. This victory is made even sweeter by the fact that Jackson almost did not even make it to the Olympic Games this year. She stumbled during the race in the U.S. trials, which disqualified her from competing this February. Her friend and teammate Brittany Bowe gave up her spot so that Jackson could compete, and she did not disappoint her. 

The U.S. excelled in snowboarding this year and tied with Austria for first place. The three gold medal winners were Chloe Kim in the Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe, Lindsey Jacobellis in the Women’s Snowboard Cross and Nick Baumgartner alongside teammate Jacobellis in the Mixed Team Snowboard Cross. Kim made history by becoming the youngest woman to win a gold medal in the sport in the 2018 Winter Olympics at age 17, and the snowboarding sensation is continuing to excel in her craft. Even though she fell on her second and third runs, Kim’s first run was good enough to keep her in the top spot, with a score of 94.00. After not winning a medal for 16 years, 36-year-old Jacobellis learned from her past Olympic experiences and performed phenomenally at the 2022 Winter Olympics. “Don’t count the old girl out,” she said jokingly. Legendary U.S. snowboarder Shaun White made his final appearance in the Winter Olympics this year. While he came in fourth place, just short of a medal, White left a legacy on the sport that will forever be remembered.