South Korea hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25. The Olympics bring the joy of competition to the world as whole. Some watch front and center while others come together in their homes, but all are rooting for their favorites.
“I love watching the Olympics, and as an athlete myself I enjoy watching those who are close within my age range excel in whatever sport they do,” junior Terra Caple said.
While there are many competitors, three big names on the U.S.A team have made a lot of noise: Chloe Kim, Vincent Zhou and Red Gerard.
Chloe Kim competed in the women’s snowboarding segment of the Olympics and was one of the youngest American competitors at 17. She became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal when she won the gold for her halfpipe performance.
“I haven’t watched much of the snowboarding segment in the Olympics so I was unaware of who was competing, but to be 17 and at the Olympics is honestly a great accomplishment to achieve at such a young age,” Caple stated.
“Chloe Kim is a very talented young woman with as much potential as Shaun White had when he first competed professionally,”junior, Cezar Gherasimescu stated.
Vincent Zhou is best known for his figure skating career. In 2017, he became the World Junior champion, the Bavarian Open champion and won the U.S. national silver medal for figure skating. This year, he took home a bronze medal in the team event. Zhou is also 17 years old.
“I think Vincent Zhou is amazing to accomplish what he has at 17 years old,” sophomore Joy Jongwe said.
“[He] is fun to watch, thinking of figure skating makes me think of the movie Blades of Glory,” Gherasimescu joked.
Red Gerard won the first gold medal for the U.S. for his snowboarding. He became one of the more controversial athletes in the games after almost missing his heat due to “Netflix binging” and then yelling an obscenity that rhymes with “truck” in celebration on live television.
The younger competitors have brought attention to the age range in the games. The oldest male to compete this year was 54 and the oldest woman was 51. The youngest male to compete was 12, with the youngest female only one year younger.
Most of the sports in the Olympics do not have an age range. Those that do usually only have a minimum age rule, such as bobsledding (14), figure skating (15), luge (16) and the biathlon (22). However, there is no set age when you have to stop competing.
Gherasimescu stated that he thought the age range was “acceptable because other competitive sports have it.”
Junior Briana Brown said, “I think the age range is good because 16 or 17 is a good age to where the body is almost in its prime but still able to move around.”
With the age range being as open as it is, it’s possible that a 25-year-old could be competing against a 16 or 17-year-old. Some people don’t see an issue with the age difference but there are some who object.
“I think it’s okay because the child already knows what they are going be up against,” junior Alexis Washington said.
“It could possibly be advantage to the 17-year-old because they’re younger, but then if someone who is 24 to 27 competing, it’s like what are you really doing?” junior Vanessa Brightwell said.
There are people from all over the world that get to compete at the chance to take home the gold medal. There are many great competitors competing such as Maame Biney (18) who has made history as the first black woman to qualify for Team USA’s short track speed skating team.
Another big name that has made headlines is Gus Kenworthy, a freestyle ski star, known as one of the first openly gay men to qualify for a Winter Olympic team.