As South Korea waved goodbye to the Winter Olympics with a stunning closing ceremony on Sunday wowing crowds at the stadium in Pyeongchang, it was a fitting end to what was an incredibly memorable Games.
Team GB will be flying home with five medals to their name, a record haul which means this winter Olympics marks the best ever in the country’s history. Meeting the target set by UK Sport before the Games began, this tally is one better than what they achieved in Sochi 2014 and signals real progress for the nation when it comes to Winter sport.
Amongst the medals GB won was one gold, which went the way of skeleton supremo Lizzy Yarnold MBE. She became the only British athlete to ever successfully defend a winter Olympics title when she cruised to victory in the event. This was not the only medal the country won in the discipline with Laura Deas and Dom Parsons taking home bronze medals in the sport.
Bronze medals were also won in ski slopestyle and the big air competition, and the chair of UK Sport Dame Katherine Grainger was thrilled with Britain’s performance. She said: “We have seen two weeks of phenomenal sport, there is a real interest from the British public and people do like to see us successful. A lot of investment has gone in and there is a criticism over whether we are giving too much. What does everyone want? What is best for the country? There is an amazing reaction from people who see the Olympic Games – people get very engaged, united and inspired by it, go and do activities because of it. When you try and put a number on ‘is it worth the values we see’, it’s so much more complicated than ‘that medal cost that much’ or otherwise. It’s buying into a huge system of sport across many countries.”
In total, 3,000 athletes from 92 different countries participated at the Games with over 100 gold medals won. An Olympics that dominated headlines in politics as well as sport with relations between the two Korean nations and the USA a hot topic, the power of sport was clear to see.
Norway topped the medal table at the Games, winning 39 medals 14 of which were gold. This was two more than the record set by USA at the Vancouver Games in 2010 when they won 37 medals.
Following their success in Pyeongchang, Great Britain are now looking to the future with eyes firmly set on the 2022 Games in Beijing, they are now targeting a top 15 finish at this event. Funding for the 2022 Games will be announced in the coming months with sports including bobsleigh and ice skating potentially under threat of seeing their funding reduced due to poor performances this year.
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