Winter Olympics may be over, but I’m still taking it in

  • Nick Celario

The Winter Olympics may have wrapped up Sunday in South Korea, but I haven’t stopped looking into it.

I’m still binge-watching videos and reading stories. There was some compelling stuff — the kind of heartstring-pulling stories that TV and movie studios should be fighting for over the rights.

In the spirit of patriotism, naturally I rooted for those representing our home country. (Side note: I’m still bitter that the US men’s soccer team did not qualify for this year’s FIFA World Cup. What a bummer.)

This week, I’ll review a few stories that I’ll remember about 2018 Pyeongchang.

US hockey women beat Canada in thrilling shootout

I remember the gold-medal women’s hockey game between the US and Canada coming on at the TGI newsroom. I also remember that as the puck dropped, I honestly didn’t pay much attention.

By the end of it, the game became one of — if not the most — captivating gold medal games I’ve ever seen for any Olympic sport.

Two continental rivals going at it for the top prize, the underdog scoring an equalizing goal right before the end of regulation, and then winning in dramatic fashion in a shootout. That’s just great stuff to watch.

I left the newsroom just about when the third period started, then quickly continued watching from home on my iPad. As I sat to watch, my girlfriend sat down next to me.

I’m not sure if she’s ever seen a women’s hockey game. Watching her reactions, you would think she was a diehard. That’s when I knew how captivating this game was.

But also, while one team was basking in the glory of victory, the other was deflated with defeat. As the Canadians were receiving their silver medals on the ice, one women took off her medal the second after it was put around her neck.

Some believe that to have been a showing of poor sportsmanship, and she’s since apologized for her rash decision. But I’m sure in the moment, all she thought of was the heartbreak of not clinching gold.

She’s human, as we all are. The Olympics may be a showcase nationalism and sportsmanship, but at its very core, it’s competition. Defeat is part of competition. She should get a pass.

“Team Reject” American men win curling gold

As is the case in sports, even if a team isn’t the most talented, it can go pretty far if it hits a hot streak at just the right time.

I learned of the US winning the men’s gold medal as the story came out. Afterward, I looked up videos online of that match.

It wasn’t until I learned that “Team Reject” wasn’t even supposed to be in contention of making the podium was when I thought, “Wow.”

If there’s anything akin to the famed “Miracle on Ice” story of the underdog US men’s hockey team beating the top-ranked Soviet Union at the Olympics, this isn’t it.

Nothing ever will be, but this is as close to an alternate as we possibly can get.

If ever a movie is to be made about a curling team, this is the one. (Disney, get on it.)

Side note: As I’m writing this, I just found out about South Korea’s women’s curling team — another team that no one expected much out of of but shocked the world to win silver.

A quirky group known as “Garlic Girls,” an homage to their small hometown known mainly for its garlic production, all of which share the same last name Kim though only two are related and have nicknames inspired by their favorite foods captured the hearts of South Korea.

I mean, really? How can you not cheer for a team like that? (Disney, get on that, too.)

ShibSibs become darling sibling team of ice dancing

I have a younger sister. For most of our childhood, we were bastards to each other. Those fights were biblical.

It probably wasn’t until adulthood that we became loving siblings. Too bad, but ehh. Water under the bridge now.

A long time ago, there was an ice rink at a mall nearby our home. Once in a while, our parents would take us there.

One time, I accidentally knocked her over on the ice, and I got in so much trouble.

It might have been the last time we went there before the ice rink was torn down and a movie theater was built in its place.

Safe to say, we didn’t win any Olympic medals. But an Asian-American sibling team from Michigan won two of them in Pyeongchang.

Maia and Alex Shibutani, the “ShibSibs” as the call themselves, won two bronze medals — one for the figure skating team event, and the other for the ice dance.

They’re the first US siblings to win an Olympic medal in ice dance. It’s also just the second time in Olympic history a brother and sister team medaled — France’s Isabelle and Paul Dechesnay won silver in 1992.

The ShibSibs are proof positive that siblings can get along.

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Nick Celario can be reached at ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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