With the 2018 Olympics on our doorstep, we look back at a variety of random moments from the Games in Sochi, Russia.
German ice dancer Alexander Gazsi brought a cumbersome piece of luggage to share with the audiences in Sochi: a large cowbell that he rang before and after a number of skaters’ performances. How it came to Sochi had its own story. “We have a tailor in Oberstdorf that has a farm. It took me a lot of effort to talk her into letting me borrow it. It is very heavy, and we carried it for a day and a half while traveling to the Games, but it was definitely worth it. It was one of the biggest highlights of the first night of the Team Event, second only to Evgeni Plushenko’s performance.”
Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov became the first figure skaters in history to win two gold medals at a single Olympic Winter Games. Capturing gold in the individual pairs event marked the 13th Olympic victory for a Russian/Soviet pairs team since 1964.
The last pairs team to win an Olympic title on home ice was Germany’s Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier, who mined gold in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936.
Russia is the only International Skating Union member to have won Olympic gold medals in all four figure skating disciplines.
“I was incredibly nervous. It’s the Olympics, and all the skaters here are brilliant.”
—Olympic champion, Yuzuru Hanyu
“I see his uniqueness. What is outstanding about Yuzuru Hanyu is that he almost
doesn’t have a set choreography. He is just dancing by himself.
That is his great strength.” —Alexei Mishin
Jeremy Abbott found himself embroiled in a media critique after laying down less-than-stellar short programs in both the team and the individual events. At a subsequent press conference, Abbott spoke openly about his feelings toward the media for what he considered were years of unjust criticism and for labeling him as a choker. “I just want to put my middle finger in the air to everyone who has ever said that to me because they’ve never stood in my shoes and they’ve never had to do what I’ve had to do,” Abbott said.
Patrick Chan said he understood where Abbott was coming from. “Absolutely, I agree with him. I don’t know if I agree with the middle finger, but I definitely agree with his comments on how harshly we’re scrutinized. It’s very easy to watch from the outside and criticize, to say words and blast someone or to say they’re a choker or whatever.”
“Personally, it is not my ambition, and I am not focusing on winning the gold medal twice.
It’s meaningful but not significant. I am focusing more on taking part in the Olympic Games.”
“I am a triple Lutz away from Yuna Kim.” —Gracie Gold
Patrick Chan’s second place finish in the individual event marked the fifth time in three decades a Canadian man had to settle for silver. (Brian Orser in 1984 and 1988 and Elvis Stojko in 1994 and 1998.)
The Canadian skaters were glowing after claiming silver in the Team Event. “Before we skated, I said, ‘I’m nervous that I’m not nervous.’” —Kirsten Moore-Towers
“My story deserves a TV show. It’s actually kind of funny.
When I say it, it doesn’t sound real.I just had one problem after another.”
—Denis Ten on his pre-Olympic illness, injuries and equipment problems
Meryl Davis and Charlie White got Team USA off to a flying start, winning the ice dance segment of the Team Event. Davis and White added gold to their Olympic medal collection with victory in their individual event, making history for the U.S. along the way.
The U.S. increased its gold medal tally to 48, and holds the record for the most Olympic figure skating gold medals won by any nation.
“Sometimes, people ask me how I am. I am alive; that is what is important.”
“It’s very tough to take. Before I went out, I was about to crack.
There were lots of emotions.”
—Florent Amodio on missing almost every element in his free skate
“I went to bed at 1 a.m. and was up at 6 a.m. for a 7:45 a.m. practice.
Then I took a long nap in the middle of the day.
I think my roommate thought I was dead.” —Brooklee Han
Flag bearer Javier Fernández led his teammates into the opening ceremony. His coach, Brian Orser, said he was proud to march into the stadium with the Spanish team.
“It’s a whole new game. You have been to the Olympics before, but this is different. Last time, you went to get the uniform; this time you are a contender.” —Brian Orser on his heart-to-heart discussion with Javier Fernández before the Games
“It is easy to lose a sense of time and structure in the Olympic village.
It feels like summer camp, like Neverland.” —Jeremy Abbott
“She’s only 15. She’s completely unfazed. She’s got no spine, but she’s got iron in her bones.”
—Gracie Gold on Julia Lipnitskaia
“A bronze medal isn’t too shabby. We went out there and skated our hearts out.” — Charlie White
“It’s been hard work, and I have had many ups and downs. I was telling myself I should fight
and that I should believe that anything is possible, and, as it turned out, it is possible.”
Team Japan celebrated Akiko Suzuki placing fourth in the ladies free. Japan ranked fifth overall in the Team Event.
“I don’t understand the judging in #icedancing. Virtue and Moir should be leading in my honest opinion.
Hope Virtue_Moir win. Americans timing off in the #finnstep and restrained even otherwise.”
—Petri Kokko who invented the Finnstep in 1985
“I’m so glad it’s over.” —Yuna Kim
“There is a life after skating.” —Brian Joubert