Stunning performances punctuate Olympic Winter Games at halfway point
The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 have reached the halfway point today, marking eight days down and eight days to go.
The Games have been punctuated by historic performances, including men’s figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu becoming the 1,000th Olympic Winter Games medal event winner.
Earlier in the Games, Germany’s Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot etched their names in the history books when they earned a world record score in the pairs figure skating free skate, while the USA’s Chloe Kim became the youngest female snowboarder gold medallist in Olympic history.
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen cemented herself as the most decorated female winter Olympian in history after a win in the women’s 4x5km cross country relay; and Sung-bin Yun became the Republic of Korea’s first Olympic medallist in a sliding sport, winning the men’s Olympic skeleton by 1.63 seconds.
A total of 55 events had been contested as of Saturday night, including the debut of mixed doubles curling, which was won by John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes of Canada.
Exemplifying the Olympic spirit, the unified Korean women’s hockey team have captured the world’s attention with their joint performances; while the Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka astonished even herself with a gold medal performance in the ladies’ super-G.
These are the kind of stories we need in the Games. It’s about these emotions. When it comes together, it makes it the perfect day.Christophe Dubi Olympic Games Executive Director
“I was watching it in front of the TV in the office,” IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said of Ledecka’s surprise win. “Despite having the goggles on, you can see the eyes and see how astounded she is. She just can’t believe it. It’s a burst of emotion. Its immense, these are the kind of stories we need in the Games. It’s about these emotions. When it comes together, it makes it the perfect day.”
The spectacular performances have led to a surge in coverage over previous Olympic Winter Games, including record numbers for both TV and digital broadcast hours in comparison to Sochi 2014.
In the Republic of Korea, the live coverage of the Opening Ceremony across the three major free-to-air networks was more than five times the audience for the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony on the same three channels.
Crowds are also flocking to venues to see the action in person, with 545,970 people having attended the Games as of 16 February, while ticket sales tipped past the one million mark on Saturday.
A week of Olympic Games action remains, with an additional 47 gold medals on offer.