The 2018 Winter Olympics have been turning heads and striking conversations since the season began. This year’s competition has been different from most when you consider not just how many medals have been earned, but who has been earning them.
This year the Olympics are being held in PyeongChang, South Korea. The games started on Friday, Feb 9 and will continue through Sunday, Feb 25. The U.S.A. team has been able to stay in the top five most of the season and is currently in fifth place.
So far, the U.S. Winter Olympic team has received a total of five gold medals. Remarkably, two of these medals were earned by 17 year old snowboarders.
One of these snowboarders is Redmond Gerard. At only 17 years old, Gerard is the youngest Olympic snowboarding champion ever. He competed in the men’s snowboard slope-style and was the first to earn a gold medal for the U.S. team this year. He is also the youngest male American to win a Winter Olympic gold medal since 1928.
Only a few days later, Chloe Kim, who is also 17, earned a gold medal in the women's snowboard halfpipe. She performed double 1080’s and many other tricks, giving her a score of 98.25 on her final trial.
“When I first saw Chloe Kim, I thought, “Woah, she’s only 17! I have to start doing something with my life!” said MJHS sophomore, Gianni Perez.
The first Winter Olympic games were in 1924 in France. Snowboarding events were not introduced until the 1990’s. The games have evolved in many ways. The current minimum age to compete in snowboarding Olympic events is 15 years old.
When asked to comment, a junior here at MJHS, Sydney Koenig said, “It’s really cool because it shows that the Olympics don’t discriminate against age, and that they simply judge on their performance and not anything else.”
Gerard and Kim both started snowboarding at a young age. Kim’s father, a Korean-American immigrant quit his job to coach and help her with snowboarding as much as he could. He was seen holding signs and cheering his daughter on during the games.
“I think it’s her race and her gender that just represent power. The relationship she has with her dad is super cute too.” said Perez.
Due to their success and achievements, these teen Olympians have earned a lot of attention. This includes Chloe Kim appearing on the cover of a Sports Illustrated magazine and Red Gerard appearing as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live, just to name a few.
It’s no question that their attention is well earned and both athletes represent and motivate teens in a positive way.