The Olympics have been rocking: NBC reports half of all U.S. television households have watched the PyeongChang Games—some 110 million TV viewers. NBC viewership peaked at nearly 27 million during young Chloe Kim’s final run, as she won Olympic halfpipe gold. Of course, not all of the finest Olympic moments can be seen via NBC. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite behind-the-scenes moments from the Games thus far. Here’s to the many exciting competitions ahead (including the freeskiing contests, of course) and all of the “backstage” moments, too.
Behind-the-scenes at PyeongChang
There was the curious moment when former X Games gold medalist and South Korean halfpipe ski coach, Peter Olenick (read our awesome story on Peter’s rise to Olympic coaching, here), swapped pins—a storied Olympic tradition—with the North Koreans. The ever-bubbly, don’t-care-what-anyone-else-thinks Olenick was perhaps the perfect candidate to approach the North Koreans in the lead-up to the Opening Ceremony; in that simple exchange, he broke down barriers. Folks are now calling him “Diplomat Pete.” See video of the exchange, below.
Such an amazing day and really cool experience meeting my first #northkoreans. I did a pin swap with one of them and was instantly surrounded by tons of media. Oh also did some exploring, with my team. Met the @cocacola bear, ate free @mcdonalds and took some cool photos with my new camera. Tomorrow is #openingceremonies hopefully my boy @tigerwoods is there. @pyeongchang2018 #olympics #olympics2018 #teamkorea
Go, Diplomat Pete, go!
Halfpipe skier Beau-James Wells had the honor of serving as New Zealand’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony. Prior to the big show, Beau-James’ brother and fellow teammate, Byron, led the New Zealanders in a Haka (the traditional war cry, war dance, or challenge in Māori culture). “Being on the receiving end of this was absolutely insane,” said Beau-James. The New Zealanders mean business in PyeongChang, folks. Look for Byron and Beau-James in the halfpipe next week.
“We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it,” announced 2014 Olympic silver medalist in ski slopestyle, Gus Kenworthy, as the Games began. Pictured here with figure skater Adam Rippon, also gay, Kenworthy sends a direct message to the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, a longtime opponent of gay rights: “Eat your heart out,” bud. Kenworthy’s statements have earned him a spotlight on the world’s biggest stage; he is currently adding tens of thousands of followers (daily) to his already gargantuan following. Soon, he’ll look to make a statement on the ski hill, too.
Gosh, the Swiss freeski team might be winning the award for “most fun” at the 2018 Games. Whether it’s Fabian Bösch’s escalator antics, Jonas Hunziker’s poaching of the mogul course (maybe he’ll give Mikaël Kingsbury a run for his money in 2022?) or the boys doing their best Cool Runnings impression, the good times are rolling (literally, on that last one) in PyeongChang.
Powder moguls FTW!
Excellent form, Fabian!
Who wore it best? The U.S. women’s slopestyle ski team or the Canadian halfpipe shredders?
The Fierce Four!
The Fantastic Five, feat. “coach Trennon.”
Swag-master Henrik Harlaut spinning hot laps in the mini park? It sure seems like the dude is having some fun. That carefree attitude may very well help Harlaut to perform his best when it counts the most.
Speaking of having fun, did you see that the U.S. halfpipe ski team pond-hopped from South Korea to Japan to “clear their heads?” Will a short escape from the pressure of the Games pay off? Only time will tell.
That moment when 17-year-old snowboarder and newly-crowned Olympic gold medalist, Red Gerard, went on the Kimmel show and talked about his family “getting obliterated” at the Games? Ya’ gotta love it.
We felt “all of the feels” when we watched Shaun White cry tears of joy after earning his third career Olympic gold medal; the Olympics are one of a kind. P.s. shout-out to the Spaceman in the background!