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Olympics Day 17: The PyeongChang Games close with a pair of historic silver medals

February 25, 2018 at 12:02 PM

Fireworks explode during the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Christian Hartmann/REUTERS/)

The Washington Post’s complete Olympics coverage can be found here.

The 23rd Olympic Winter Games ended with a closing ceremonies dance party. Beijing 2022 is next (via the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, of course).

This is the The Post’s final Olympics newsletter. It’s been an absolute pleasure to produce, and we hope you have enjoyed reading it, as well. The Olympics are long and we know your inbox is valuable real estate, so thank you very much for lending us a plot. Please send comments, suggestions or questions to olympics2018newsletter@washpost.com. Tell us what you liked, didn’t like or, if you feel so inclined, your dog’s favorite sport. Your feedback will help us shape any future iterations of our Olympics digest.

In the meantime, here’s the latest from PyeongChang:

The Cinderella teams had a tough day, with South Korea losing to Sweden in curling, and Germany losing to the Olympic Athletes from Russia in men’s hockey. After the hockey game, which went to overtime, the OAR team intentionally violated International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctions by singing the Russian national anthem.

Both Germany and South Korea, however, still walked away with historic silver medals. In addition to curling and hockey, the two countries collected hardware in the four-man bobsled, which saw one German sled win, and another tie South Korea for silver (both teams got the medal).

Related: [With 23 medals, Team USA falls short of expectations at PyeongChang Olympics]

There were no surprises atop the final Olympic event — the women’s 30-kilometer cross-country mass start. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen won gold and further solidified her position as the most decorated winter Olympian ever.

The cross-country medals were awarded at the closing ceremonies, which were this morning. Afterward, PyeongChang passed the Olympic torch to Beijing, which will host the next Olympic Winter Games in 2022.

See the “What To Watch” section for more on the closing ceremonies, which NBC will broadcast tonight in prime time (8 p.m.). Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir and Terry Gannon will be the commentators. Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins will carry the American flag.

Finally, be sure to watch as the world’s best will take the stage again next week, at the paralympics. A record number of events will be available, both on TV and streaming online. See NBCOlympics.com for details.

The final medal standings seem pretty straight forward: Norway came out on top with a total of 39 medals (14 gold). Germany followed with a total of 31 and Canada was in third place with 29. The United States came in fourth with only 23 medals, its lowest in 20 years.

But The Post’s Neil Greenberg takes us beyond the medal count, with a deeper dive into the standings. Considering factors such as delegation size and non-podium finishes, each country is given a score from 1 to 100. Norway’s dominance still sends them to the top. But the Netherlands is second, and the U.S. plummets to 11th. Other highlights include Olympic Athletes from Russia coming in eighth and Republic of Korea coming in 14th. See the full power rankings here.

ICYMI: an Austrian skier took a wrong turn, a Canadian Olympic skier was arrested in PyeongChang, America’s gay Olympians hope that in 20 years, ‘gay Olympians’ won’t be a thing, and the U.S. women’s cross-country team pursues happiness over medals.

The “garlic girls”, as the Korean team is known, came up shy of women’s curling gold. While the host country lost to Sweden 8-3, they’re still considered national and international heroes. “[Koreans] have recorded homemade curling videos that feature robot vacuum cleaners and brooms,” writes Anna Fifield. Japan took the bronze.

South Korea also slid to silver in four-man bobsled, with opening ceremony flag bearer Won Yun-Jong in the pilot’s seat. They tied Germany, which also got a silver medal. Another German sled won gold, making Francesco Friedrich the fifth German pilot to win both the two- and four-man events at the same Olympics. Codie Bascue was the top American in the field, in ninth.

The Germans nearly had their own “Miracle on Ice” in the men’s gold medal hockey game. The underdogs took the favored Olympic Athletes from Russia to overtime, where they lost 4-3. Canada earned bronze. The Americans were knocked out in the quarterfinals of a tournament that, for the first time in 20 years, didn’t include active NHL players.

The OAR team sparked controversy after the game by singing the Russian national anthem at the medal ceremony. The move was a clear thumbing of the nose toward the IOC, which had banned official Russian participation at the Games as punishment for the country’s widespread doping.

Cross-country skiers finished off the Games with the women’s 30-kilometer mass start. Fittingly, the most decorated Winter Olympian in history — Norway’s Marit Bjoergen — won another gold. It was her fifth medal in PyeongChang. Finland skied to silver, and Sweden to bronze. Jessie Diggins finished seventh, before heading to the closing ceremonies to carry the American flag.

Below is the final medal count (barring any disciplinary action) from the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

As usual, the closing ceremonies were a much lighter affair than the opening ceremonies. The athletes were done competing, and everyone let loose a little bit. Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins carried the American flag.

The night featured fireworks, giant puppets and lot of dancing. K-pop singer CL was one highlight, but nothing compared to the endlessly popular boy band EXO, which also performed. Tongan Pita Taufatofua was again (very noticeably) shirtless, and even Lindsey Vonn got in on the festivities, which culminated in a dance party.

While the politics weren’t quite as glaring as at the opening ceremonies, they couldn’t be missed, either. Earlier in the day, the IOC upheld its ban on the Olympic Athletes from Russian marching under  a Russian flag. The two Koreas also marched together again, drawing praise from IOC president Thomas Bach. “With your joint march, you have shared your faith in a peaceful future for all of us,” he said. “Sport brings people together in a very fragile world.”

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, led the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremonies. North Korea also sent a high-ranking delegation.

At 8 p.m. Eastern tonight, NBC will air a fully produced, although delayed, broadcast of the closing ceremonies. Unlike the live stream this morning, this evening’s showing will include commentary from Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir and Terry Gannon.

NBC will also provide a record amount of coverage of the paralympics (though still just a fraction compared to the Olympics). Those Games begin a week from Wednesday (March 8).

Below is a TV roundup for the rest of the day, taken from our comprehensive TV guide. Nothing else will be live, as the Olympics are over.  There are, however, highlights listed for each day. Times are Eastern.

TV schedule: 
NBC

3-6 p.m. Women’s cross-country, 30-km gold
8-10:30 p.m. Closing Ceremonies

NBCSN
2-4 a.m. Women’s cross-country, 30-km gold
6-10 a.m. Men’s hockey, gold

Read more coverage of the PyeongChang Olympics:

Germany comes oh-so-close to its own ‘Miracle on Ice,’ but Russians win Olympic gold

‘I don’t know why I took the wrong way’: Wrong turn costs Austrian skier a medal

For 16 days, PyeongChang Games turned all of us into one unified team

IOC upholds Russian doping ban, keeping athletes from marching with flag

America’s gay Olympians hope that in 20 years, ‘gay Olympians’ won’t be a thing

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