It wasn’t all bad
An act of kindness helped Chris Mazdzer take silver at the Winter Olympics. The American luger fell into a rut before the Games and slid down the world rankings. But while training in Latvia a few weeks ago, a Russian luger offered Mazdzer his sled—something lugers never do—saying it might give him a boost. That display of “friendship was really moving,” said Mazdzer. The sled proved too small, but the gesture kicked Mazdzer out of his slump. He improved his times, and this week became the first American man to win a luge medal at the Olympics.
Mirai Nagasu makes it look easy. The California figure skater stunned crowds in Pyeongchang when she became the third woman—and the first ever American—to land a triple axel in Olympic competition. That three-and-a-half-rotation jump took years of perseverance to achieve. Nagasu started out as a teenage wunderkind, but placed fourth at the 2010 Games in Vancouver before being cut from the 2014 Sochi figure skating squad. Now the 24-year-old, whose triple axel helped her team secure a bronze medal, is thankful she never quit. “It has a really special meaning to it,” she says, “because it feels like I’ve come full circle.”
Chloe Kim is America’s—and South Korea’s—Olympic sweetheart. The 17-year-old snowboarder received a near-perfect score of 98.25 on the halfpipe, clinching the gold medal before her final run. Like any Olympian, she couldn’t have done it without the support of her parents—who moved to the U.S. from South Korea in 1982. Kim’s father quit his engineering job to train the then-toddler on weekends, and fly her to competitions around the world. “It’s been such a long journey,” says Kim, who has become a social media sensation for her selfies and tweets about mid-run snacking. “Going home with a gold is amazing.”