We're five days into the 2020 Lausanne Winter Youth Olympics. And it's already been a lot of fun! (If you want a primer on what this event is all about, we wrote about that here.)
It's true that Team Canada has yet to claim a medal, but it's still early. Traditional winter powerhouse Russia is off to a great start, and so is host nation Switzerland — they have 14 and 13 medals a piece. But so far, the best stories haven't just come from the expected countries...
That's because Lausanne has been filled with nations breaking through for the first time. For example, both Israel and Georgia have won their first-ever Winter Olympic medals of any kind — Israel actually has received two!
For Georgia — a small Asian nation that was once a part of the Soviet Union — their medal was a bronze won by Pairs figure skaters Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava.
Meanwhile, Israel's hero has been alpine skier Noa Szollos. She captured a bronze in the Women's Super G on the opening day, then did that one better the next day with a silver in the Women's Alpine Combined. Nice one, Noa!
Warm country, cool achievement
And not all firsts have come at the podium. Take Abigail Vieira. She made history for her country, becoming the first alpine skier from the Caribbean nation Trinidad and Tobago to compete at the Winter Youth Olympics.
“This is the greatest day for me,” Vieira told the Lausanne 2020 website. “I wanted to ski for Trinidad because they never had a skier before at the Youth Olympics." Though she lives in the U.S., she saw this as a way to pay tribute to her parents, both immigrants from Trinidad.
"Yes, I could have chosen the U.S.," she explained, "but I can share more of my story this way.”
Just like Mom (and Dad)
Of course, there have also been gold medal winners at these games, too. Our favourite story so far is that of Austrian double medallist Amanda Salzgeber. This skier has already won bronze (Women's Giant Slalom) and gold (in Alpine Combined, where she beat Israel's Szollos). The super cool thing about this superstar of the slopes? She's just like Mom, Anita Wachter.
Wachter was an Austrian legend herself — in fact, she won gold in the exact same event at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. When Amanda hit the slopes, she couldn't bear to watch! But it all worked out, as her daughter snagged gold with a combined time of 1:33.74. Did we mention that her dad, Rainer Salzgeber, was also a medal-winning skier for Austria?
Clearly, we'll have to look out for Amanda in the future!
That's all for now, but we'll be back with another update from Lausanne on Friday, including updates on luge, speed skating, curling, and a unique take on international 3-on-3 ice hockey!