The 2018 Winter Olympics are coming to an end, and it’s safe to say Pyeongchang has been a year to remember. Between the flashy drone show at the opening ceremony, amazing performances by our Canadian athletes, and history-making socio-political moments happening at the games, there has been plenty to talk about on social. Here are some of the Olympic moments that dominated the conversation and helped bring the stories behind the athletes and the games to life at Pyeongchang.
Pyeongchang’s opening ceremony was full of post-worthy moments, but the one that had people tweeting was North and South Korea’s entrance as #OneKorea. Athletes from North and South Korea marched together under one flag— an act that was seen by many as a diplomatic breakthrough between two countries who have been in conflict for almost seventy years. On Twitter, the moment even managed to overshadow Tonga’s shirtless flag waver.
There are 14 openly LGBTQ athletes at this year’s games—the highest number in Winter Olympic history—and they’ve been stealing the spotlight and the top spots on the podium in Pyeongchang. US figure skater Adam Rippon became the first openly gay male athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics, and Canadian figure skater Eric Radford became the first openly gay man to win gold. Both moments represent a huge step forward for the LGBTQ community. Throughout it all, Adam Rippon’s Twitter account (@AdamRippon) has provided us with a behind the scenes look at the journey of an LGBTQ athlete. Using his platform to share his story, advocate for LGBTQ rights, and post side-splitting jokes, Rippon has quickly become the star of the Winter Olympics. It’s hard to believe that, just a few Winter Olympics ago, this type of real-time, first-person narration of LGBTQ history in the making would not have been possible. Thanks Twitter!
Everyone loves a comeback, and Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris gave fans just that when he won bronze in Men’s Slopestyle eleven months after a life-threatening snowboarding accident left him with seventeen broken bones. Fans were able to follow McMorris’s journey back to the podium via his Twitter and Instagram where he posted updates on his recovery. The updates cumulated in a post comparing a picture of himself in a hospital bed fully intubated to a picture of him on the Pyeongchang podium holding a bronze medal after an inspiring performance in the Men’s Slopestyle event. Fans and supporters who followed his journey—including Justin Trudeau— were quick to take to social media to celebrate the victory.
#FabianBosch and the Swiss Free Ski Team Go Viral
The Winter Olympics can be stressful, both for the athletes and for the fans watching at home. The Swiss Free Ski team has taken it on themselves to lighten the mood and show everyone the fun side of the games by posting Instagram videos and pictures of themselves riding up the sides of escalators, using pallet jacks as make-shift luges, and getting up to all sorts of shenanigans around the Olympic village. When an Instagram video of Swiss Skier Fabian Bosch riding up the side of an escalator went viral, athletes from other countries were quick to join the fun. US skier Lindsey Vaughn even challenged Fabian Bosch to an escalator riding competition. The fun social exchanges made it feel like we were right there in the Olympic Village experiencing the games alongside the athletes. Ah, the magic of social media!
Team Canada’s favourite ice dancing duo, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, have been burning up the rink at Pyeongchang with impressive lifts, thrilling throws and sizzling on-ice chemistry that has the whole internet speculating about an undercover romance. After a jaw-dropping free dance routine to Moulin Rouge on day three of the Olympic Games, the pair went on to break their own world record in the short dance event, and win gold in ice dance. They are now the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history, and it’s safe to say Twitter has lost its collective mind. Between the medals, the steamy moves, and the romance rumours, these Canadians have become two of the most talked about athletes on the internet.
Social media has added a new layer to the Olympic Games—one that lets us connect with athletes, participate in global conversations around athletic, political and social moments as they happen in real-time, and get a behind the scenes look at the biggest sporting event in the world. We couldn’t be more proud of our Canadian athletes who have been wowing us with medal-winning performances and amazing displays of sportsmanship these past two weeks.