As always, the Winter Olympics delivered many instances of incredible athleticism and skill. From skiers and snowboarders who seemed to defy gravity, to curlers who have mastered the art of placing stones in just the right spot, there was no shortage of highlights to be amazed at.
Here are 10 specific moments from the 2022 Winter Games that stood out for being particularly impressive.
Alex Hall defies physics to win gold
Alex Hall is a guy known for his big spins — he landed a 2160 at this year’s X Games! — but it was his creativity that was on display in the men’s freeski slopestyle final. His second jump, where he did a switch 720 onto the knuckle of the jump and then nose buttered back in the air for another 540-degree rotation, was unique, but it was his final jump that really dropped jaws. Hall went for a double cork 1080 but actually reversed his rotation right at the end to rewind it into a 900.
As a reward for seemingly defying the laws of physics, Hall walked away with a gold medal.
John Shuster’s amazing shot helps U.S. get vital victory
John Shuster, skip of the U.S. men’s curling team, pulled out some magic with this incredible shot from the eighth end of the game against Switzerland. At the time Switzerland, which had the hammer, was in position to score two points, but Shuster managed to bounce his shot off another American stone to take out one of the Swiss rocks and set up a steal.
The shot was key in the U.S. earning a 7-4 win, and that win was pivotal in ultimately helping the Americans reach the playoffs.
Ayumu Hirano stomps triple cork run, does it again
The triple cork has been a long-sought-after trick in snowboard halfpipe. It popped up before the 2014 Olympics — Shaun White ended up in the hospital while trying to learn the trick — but was placed on the backburner until this season when Japan’s Ayumu Hirano finally became the first rider to land it in competition.
Entering the Olympics though, Hirano had yet to land a full run that included the triple cork. That came to an end on the second run of the men’s halfpipe final, when the 23-year-old Japanese star nailed the triple on his first hit, then proceeded to put down a massive sequence of tricks. The judges only put him in second place, so what did Hirano do next? He came back for his final run and stomped an even cleaner version of that run, and this time there was no denying him the win.
ROC beats first period buzzer with strange goal
With time running out in the first period, ROC forward Anton Slepyshev wrapped around the net and fired off a casual shot from what looked to be an impossible angle, but a lucky deflection off the shin of a Swiss skater put it into the net with just 2.7 seconds left.
It ended up being the deciding goal in this game, as neither team scored in the final two periods and ROC beat Switzerland 1-0.
No practice, no problem for Eileen Gu
They say that practice makes perfect. Not so for Eileen Gu, who proved that it’s possible to be perfect even without practice.
Sitting in third place ahead of her last run in the freeski big air final, Gu opted to try a double cork 1620 — a trick she had never attempted, even in practice — and stomped it. Her spur-of-the-moment decision to go for progression over safety was rewarded with her first of two gold medals in Beijing.
Eve Muirhead’s four point shot wins gold for Great Britain
With a gold medal on the line, the Great Britain women’s curling team got a clutch shot from its skip to secure a victory.
At the time, Great Britain held a 4-2 lead over Japan and had the hammer in the seventh end. That’s when Eve Muirhead, a four-time Olympian, was able to blow the game wide open with a great shot that took the Japanese stone out of play and secured four points for her team. That gave Great Britain a six-point lead, which proved insurmountable. They would force Japan to concede two ends later and win by a score of 10-3, giving Muirhead her first Olympic gold medal.
Kaishu Hirano takes snowboarding to new heights
Japanese snowboarder Kaishu Hirano, the younger brother of Ayumu Hirano, took his sport to new heights — literally — when he blasted a huge backside air that took him more than 24 feet out of the halfpipe on his third run. In the process, he broke the record for the highest air out of a halfpipe and also showed the world how to properly tweak out a super stylish method.
Poulin nets beautiful backhander
Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin might be the top women’s hockey player in the world, and she showed why during her team’s gold medal run. With six goals and 11 assists, Poulin had the second-most points in the tournament (behind teammate Sarah Nurse), and this particular goal – a backhander scored against Switzerland in the semifinals – was arguably the most impressive.
Chris Lillis goes big, leads Team USA to mixed teams aerials upset
In an upset, the United States beat out China to win the first-ever mixed team aerials competition at the Winter Olympics. Chris Lillis was a big reason why.
Lillis, an Olympic debutant, landed a quintuple-twisting triple — a manueuver with five twists and three flips — during the final round to earn a massive score that carried the Americans to a gold medal.
Denmark women win on final stone
The women’s curling tournament got off to a dramatic start when a game between Denmark and China came down to the final stone. Tied 6-6 in the final end, China had four stones in scoring position, and the Danes needed to place a perfect shot to get the winning point. Skip Madeleine Dupont navigated her stone through a crowded house and right onto the button for the victory.
Unfortunately for the Danish women, this would end up being one of just two wins they collected at the Games.
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