The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang will long be remembered for its several record-breaking performances and historic “firsts,” but the performances were not without subsequent controversies.
NBC Olympics reports that “Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics, while 17-year-old Vincent Zhou was the first figure skater to land a quad lutz.”
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 14, 2018
Nagasu, 24, finished with a bronze medal in the figure skating team event.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 12, 2018
Deadspin calls the trick which Zhou, 17, landed “the most difficult move currently recognized as achievable.” Check it out:
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 16, 2018
Fellow ice skater Nathan Chen also had a historic performance. According to NBC Olympics, “Chen tallied the highest-ever technical score in Olympic competition” notching him a bronze medal in the team figure skating event.
Chris Mazdzer won the first ever United States single luges medal and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svinda was the oldest person ever to capture a skiing gold medal.
Snowboarder Red Gerard, 17, became the first-ever athlete to be born in the 21st century to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. His record was matched by fellow American snowboarder Chloe Kim, also 17, who also took home a gold medal.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 20, 2018
Legendary snowboarder Shaun White won America’s 100th gold medal after his halfpipe event performance. Fellow snowboarder Jamie Anderson also won a gold medal in the Women’s slopestyle competition.
On the ice, Team USA’s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson found the back of the net twice in six seconds against the Olympic Athletes from Russia, setting the record for shortest time between goals scored by any player in Olympic history.
MSN reports these grand achievements were not without some controversy.
The United States ran into an immediate issue following the decision of who would lead the delegation as the nation’s flag bearer, MSN reports:
The first major controversy kicked off before the Olympic Games had even started, as U.S. speedskater Shani Davis vented his frustration over losing out on the honor of flag-bearer on account of a coin toss.
Ultimately, luger Erin Hamlin handled the flag while Davis did not attend the opening ceremony.
Figure skater Adam Rippon refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the U.S. Olympic athletes:
Rippon was extremely critical of Pence’s anti-gay beliefs and outright refused to meet with the vice president, whose office was forced to issue several clarifications and denials.
Similarly, other athletes including Lindsey Vonn and Gus Kenworthy, said they would not visit the White House following their respective wins.
Shaun White dropped and dragged an American flag amid his celebration for winning the gold medal. Reports of a sexual harassment case against White also resurfaced following his win:
His careless treatment of the American flag upon winning gold angered many viewers and led to an apology. Then the combination of his moment in the spotlight with the rising attention paid to sexual harassment/misconduct matters led to talks of the sexual harassment allegations White faced in 2016 being renewed.
During the Olympic coverage, an NBC commentator was removed from his position because of an on-air comment:
Joshua Cooper Ramo’s unfortunate remark buried 35 rather dark years in Korean history, an era that only ended at the end of World War II. Unsurprisingly, NBC issued a full apology, and Ramo will not be a part of their coverage going forward.
Several athletes were forced to change their uniforms due to alleged violations of the Olympic rule on political statements and what constitutes them:
Unsurprisingly, the IOC takes a very firm stand against religious and political statements at the Olympics. Of course, many athletes have chosen to use their gear to make such statements, and it has caused some controversy at the games.
Prior to the Olympic Games, Russian athletes were penalized for doping, they were eventually allowed to compete but could not do so under their nation’s flag:
Entering the Olympics, one of the biggest stories was the fact that Russians were not allowed to compete under the country’s flag due to a wide-ranging state-sponsored doping operation.
Russia’s foreign minister went as far to say that the Americans had pushed for the ban because they “can’t beat [the Russians] fairly.”
Each athlete at the Games was given a cell phone from the Olympic commission, but athletes from Iran and North Korea were either not given one or had to return theirs:
The IOC gave out free Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phones to all competitors, but there was one problem — it was questionable whether Iranian and North Korean athletes could accept the gifts, as both countries are subject to U.N. sanctions. The answer on Iran’s account was no, but North Korean athletes were asked to return the phones before returning to their home country.
Dangerous weather conditions also plagued some events:
Weather conditions have wreaked havoc on several outdoor events early in the week. Many felt that the high winds not only made it difficult to compete at the highest level, but also very dangerous to do so.
There were some accusations of biased judging, especially following the gold medal finish from snowboarder Shaun White:
Some rivals of American snowboarder Shaun White believe that the icon’s reputation precedes him so much that he’s given favorable treatment by judges. Even after White took home the gold in the halfpipe, the silver medal finisher said he felt he should have won.
The Olympic Games experienced a cyber attack during the opening ceremony:
What was a bit more problematic was a massive cyber attack that impacted the opening ceremony. This is a big new threat that many are still adapting to, and unfortunately, they were unable to stop this one, which had significant impacts on those who needed to use technology around that time.
Daily Mail also reports NBC will struggle to maintain already low ratings heading into the second week of the Olympic Games:
NBC is still managing to clobber the competition with its primetime coverage, as most networks air repeats, but television ratings are down double digits from the Sochi Games most nights.
The Olympics have been a guaranteed ratings winner for NBC ever since 1988, the year the network acquired the rights to broadcast the Summer Games.
In 2002, the network picked up the rights to the Winter Games, and in 2011 paid a record $4.38 billion to the International Olympic Committee to broadcast through 2020, the most expensive television contract in history.
On Saturday, NBC only managed to pull in 13.62 million viewers for a 3.2/13 ratings and share, the lowest primetime numbers yet for these Games.
That is just over a tenth of the 126.5 million viewers who tuned in on a Wednesday night back in 1994 to watch the ladies short program featuring Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.