Well, that's a wrap! After 16 days of competition, the world's best have hung up their skis, boards, skates, sleds, and brooms for another Olympics. And if you've been away for the last while and are wondering how Canada did, the answer is: better than ever!
Canada captured 29 medals — three better than their Vancouver total. With 11 gold, 8 silver, and 10 bronze, they sat in third place overall, behind only Norway's 39 medals and Germany's 31.
Finding new ways
Anytime that you set a new record for medals at an Olympics, you'd expect a scenario where everything goes right. But actually, there were quite a few hiccups for Canada at this Games. Though our hockey teams grabbed medals, both the women (with silver) and the non-NHL men (with bronze after losing to Germany) surrendered the country's gold-medal reigns. Even more stunning, both the men's and women's curling squads went medal-less. (For context, since curling was added in 1988, neither team has ever finished worse than bronze.)
Instead, a series of exciting new names — such as triple-medallist (and closing ceremonies flag bearer) speed skater Kim Boutin, snowboarders Sebastien Toutant, Max Parrot, and Mark McMorris, skier Cassie Sharpe, bobsledder Justin Kripps, and luger Alex Gough — all introduced themselves to the country as athletes of the present and future.
These new faces are a welcome sight. That's because many well-known Canadian Olympians — including PyeongChang medallists speed skater Charles Hamelin, figure skater Patrick Chan, and bobsledder Kaillie Humphries — are retiring. Of course no retiring Canadians had quite the send off of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
The magical pair went out on top with two gold medals, one in the figure skating team event, and the other in ice dancing. They never looked better. While Canada proved at PyeongChang that it has the deep talent to continue to be a huge threat at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, it will probably be a long time before we see a duo quite like Virtue and Moir.
The Peace Games
The closing ceremonies on Sunday were colourful and fun, and full of performances by K-pop superstars. It was a happy end to a terrific Games. That said, PyeongChang leaves us with a pair of interesting questions to chew on (chomp, chomp).
First? The banned/not-banned Olympic Athletes From Russia. This team captured only two gold medals, well below Russia's usual standard. Will they be able to escape their controversial past and compete at full strength in Beijing? Or will doping continue to be a problem?
Then there's the story of peace. North and South Korea surprised the world by coming together to compete as a unified team in PyeongChang. The Games even earned the nickname, the "Peace Games", thanks to this gesture. But outside of the games, North Korea is locked in a bitter conflict with countries like South Korea, the United States, and Japan.
Can the two Koreas build on this goodwill? South Korea has already asked the U.S. to re-open diplomatic talks with the North. Can the warm feelings from these Olympics stick around long enough to help these talks succeed? Just like the Games that came before them, the world is watching!
Remember, the paralympics is just beginning!! There is still more excitement to come.