One year on from Lillehammer 2016, Olympic.org takes a look at some of the YOG athletes who are now making their mark on the world stage…
Since winning the singles figure skating silver behind Russian team-mate Polina Tsurskaya in Lillehammer, Maria Sotskova has seen her career go from strength to strength. She made her ISU World Cup debut at the Trophée de France in November 2016, finishing second behind reigning world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, and then won bronze in the 2016 NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Marseille, where she finished fifth. The 16-year-old has since finished third at the Russian Championships and fourth at the European Championships, and continues to make a name for herself on the senior international circuit.
US snowboarder Chloe Kim had already made plenty of headlines before she even arrived in Lillehammer. In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Winter YOG, the then 15-year-old had become the youngest person to win two X Games titles, and had also landed the first ever back-to-back 1080s in a women’s snowboard event. In Lillehammer, Kim demonstrated why she had been dubbed “the future of women's snowboarding” by claiming YOG gold in both the halfpipe and slopestyle events; and since then she has proved that the future is clearly here now, by winning yet another X Games gold in Oslo and establishing herself as an early favourite for the Olympic halfpipe title in PyeongChang next year.
Short track speed skater Hwang Dae-heon, from the Republic of Korea, demonstrated his tactical nous when he overtook China’s Ma Wei in the closing stages of the 1,000m to win the YOG title in Lillehammer; and since then he has proved to be wise beyond his 17 years in stepping up to the ISU World Cup stage. He achieved his first podium finish in Salt Lake City in November last year – placing second behind Korean team-mate Lim Kyoungwon in the 1,000m – and followed that up with further silver medals in the 500m and 1,000m in Dresden in February. He then claimed his first World Cup victory by beating Olympic bronze medallist Sjinkie Knegt in the 1,000m in Minsk, and will be eagerly looking ahead to next year’s Olympic Winter Games on home ice.
Prior to the Lillehammer 2016 Winter YOG, Slovenian ski jumper Ema Klinec had already enjoyed three podium finishes at the senior World Cup, and that top-level experience clearly benefited her as she soared to YOG gold in both the women’s and the team events. Now aged 18, she has continued to compete at World Cup level, finishing second in Oberstdorf in January; and while she is still searching for her first senior victory, she has firmly established herself as one of the 10 leading jumpers on the women’s circuit.
Switzerland’s Mélanie Meillard proved to be one of the stars of the Lillehammer 2016 Alpine skiing events, winning gold in the giant slalom and, silver in the combined, and finishing fourth in the super-G. She has since begun to enjoy similar success at senior level, stepping onto the podium three times in the FIS European Cup, including two slalom victories in Bad Wiessee; and she has also become a regular on the World Cup circuit, with several top-10 finishes to her name already.