The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are officially over, with the closing ceremony bringing down the curtain on PyeongChang#8217s turn in the global spotlight. There were no shortage of highlights on the snow and ice: Norway ruled, dominating the rest of the world in the final Olympic medal count. Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic wowed, becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in two different sports at the same Winter Olympic Games. Ice dancing managed to captivate the world#8217s attention, with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir winning hearts far beyond Canada. And while the United States fell short of its medals expectations, Chloe Kim, Mikaela Shiffrin, Jesse Diggins, Adam Rippon and others produced plenty of thrills. (Curling gold, baby!)
What will we remember about a Winter Olympics that began under a fog of geopolitical tensionmdashwould North and South Korea really play nice with one another?mdashand ended, as the Olympics almost always do, as a celebration of athletic excellence? Well, these are the things I#8217ll remember most after covering the Games: the eight craziest things I saw at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.1. Tonga#8217s Bare-chested Olympian strikes again
While lingering backstage at the Opening Ceremonies, I spotted him, jumping up and down, trying pump himself up. Pita Taufatofua, the Tongan Olympian who skyrocketed to global fame while marching shirtless and covered in coconut oil at the Rio Olympics in 2016, was giving it another go. Apparently twenty-degree temperatures weren#8217t enough to stop Taufatofua, now competing at the Winter Olympics as a cross-country skier, from baring his chest. #8220I#8217m waaaaaaarm,#8221 Taufatofua shouted before entering the stadium. #8220You liiiiiiie,#8221 I thought.
But a little chill went a long way. Fans swooned while the Tongan flagbearer froze.2. North Korea#8217s strange cheering squad
The North Korean cheering squad bounced from event to event, swaying their arms in unison, singing #8220cheer up#8221 when the unified Korea women#8217s hockey team gave up goals. While most of the crowd at a game between Korea and Switzerland got our of their chairs and danced when a performer sang #8220Uptown Funk#8221 during an intermission, the North Korean women sat in their seats, singing their traditional tunes. Male North Korean minders took them to the bathroom and waited outside the doors. The cheerleaders were a curiosity around PyeongChang, with spectators debating whether they were a well-intention charm offensive or unwitting tools of the regime#8217s propaganda.3. Russia#8217s Olympic doping scandal #8230 in curling