American women set to out-medal their male counterparts for first time in 20 years

It began with, of all things, ice cream. Or, rather, the lackthereof. In between Chloe Kim’s qualifying runs in the halfpipe, she let the world know, via Twitter, that she really would have appreciated a bowl of ice cream.

Four magnificent runs, one more hangry tweet, and a gold medal later, the first American star of these Winter Olympics was born. It set the theme for the next few weeks to come: For the United States, these Games would be all about the women.

Pick your star, or your moment. There is Mirai Nagasu landing a triple-axel, something no American woman had ever done in an Olympics. She’d been to the Games before, in 2010, and finished fourth. Snubbed in 2014, a bronze in the team skate in PyeongChang made the redemption that much sweeter.

After her final skate on Friday, she said she wanted to be a star. She’ll be one, alright.

See all the U.S. medalists from the 2018 Winter Games: 

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Americans who have medaled at the 2018 Winter Olympics
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Americans who have medaled at the 2018 Winter Olympics
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Gold medalist Chloe Kim of the United States poses during the medal ceremony for the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Final on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Bronze medalist Arielle Gold of the United States poses during the medal ceremony for the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Final on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 11: U.S. Olympian Red Gerard poses with his Gold Medal at the USA House at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 11, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOC)
USA's gold medallist Jamie Anderson poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women's snowboard slopestyle at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
USA's silver medallist Chris Mazdzer poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's luge singles at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
The USA team who won bronze pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 12: Bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States pose with their teammates during the victory ceremony after the Figure Skating Team Event at Medal Plaza on February 12, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
USA's Shaun White with his gold medal after victory in the Men's Halfpipe Snowboard during the medal ceremony at the Medal Plaza during day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 15: Gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Giant Slalom on day six of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 15, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Silver medalist Nick Goepper of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 18, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - USA's silver medallist John-Henry Krueger kisses his medal on the podium during the medal ceremony for the short track men's 1000m at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 20: Bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Figure Skating - Ice Dance Free Dance on day 11 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 20, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
USA's bronze medallist Brita Sigourney poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the freestyle skiing women's halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang, Gangwon - FEBRUARY 21: Bronze medallist Lindsey Vonn of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Ladies' Downhill on day twelve of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal PlazaFebruary 21, 2018 (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 21: Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens of the United States celebrate after winning the bronze medal in the Speed Skating Ladies' Team Pursuit Final B against Canada on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 21, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 21: Jessica Diggins of the United States (L) and Kikkan Randall of the United States celebrate as they win gold during the Cross Country Ladies' Team Sprint Free Final on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, Feb. 22, 2018 -- David Wise of the United States celebrates with his family after men's ski halfpipe of freestyle skiing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park, PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 22, 2018. David Wise won the gold medal with 97.20 points. (Xinhua/Wu Zhuang via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Jamie Anderson of United States is seen with her silver medal from the Ladies Snowboard Big Air Final at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA -FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalist Mikaela Shiffrin #19 of the United States at the presentations after the Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Alpine Combined Slalom at Jeongseon Alpine Centre on February 22, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Carlijn Schoutens and Mia Manganello of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Speed Skating - Ladies' Team Pursuit on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalist Alex Ferreira of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Halfpipe on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalists Lauren Gibbs and Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Bobsleigh - Women on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 22 - Team USA with their medals as Canada loses in a shootout to the United States in the Olympic women's hockey gold medal game at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 22, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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So, too, will Mikaela Shiffrin. The 22-year-old skier is the best in the world at what she does, so good that a gold and a silver in these Games seems almost a disappointment to some, a reaction the result of weighty expectations from others and herself. Prior to her first run, she was compared to Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history. She called it crazy.

It didn’t seem so then. It still doesn’t seem so now.

She’ll leave South Korea as, by definition, the most successful female skier in PyeongChang, carrying forward with her the hopes of American alpine skiing for perhaps, should she remain healthy and free of burnout, the next three Olympics. Those were the hopes once shouldered by Lindsey Vonn, who currently holds the title as the greatest female skier ever. Vonn took a bronze in the downhill, the event she has ruled for the better part of two decades. Legions called it a failure.

It was one more medal than any American man earned on the slopes.

It has been 20 years since the American women have out-medaled their male counterparts in the Winter Olympics. They tied in Sochi in 2014, 13-13, but in Vancouver the men’s 24 doubled the 12 of the women, and their 16 in Turin did the same in 2006.

That will not be the case in PyeongChang, where the women have won 12 and the men 8. And it’s not just a matter of quantity, but of magnitude as well.

The women produced both the biggest burgeoning star in Kim and the biggest moment, when Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson deked Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados for the go-ahead goal in the gold medal shootout, 20 years in the making, and Maddie Rooney followed it up with the save for the top of the podium and for the wikipedia title of U.S. Secretary of Defense.

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Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim
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Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 12: Chloe Kim of the United States competes in the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Qualification on day three of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 12, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
USA's snowboard athlete Chloe Kim attends a press conference ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 8, 2018, in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / Florian CHOBLET / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Florian CHOBLET has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [snowboard] instead of [freestyle skiing ]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read FLORIAN CHOBLET/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 12: Chloe Kim of the United States competes in the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Qualification on day three of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 12, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MAMMOTH, CA - JANUARY 20: Chloe Kim looks on after finishing in second place in the final round of the Ladies' Snowboard Halfpipe during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on January 20, 2018 in Mammoth, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
MAMMOTH, CA - JANUARY 20: Chloe Kim competes in the final round of the Ladies' Snowboard Halfpipe during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on January 20, 2018 in Mammoth, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - DECEMBER 09: Chloe Kim of the United States looks on after the finals of the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2018 Ladies' Snowboard Halfpipe during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on December 9, 2017 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Kim finished in first place. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - DECEMBER 09: Chloe Kim #1 of the United States competes in the FIS World Cup 2018 Ladies Snowboard Halfpipe final during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on December 9, 2017 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - DECEMBER 07: Chloe Kim of the United States looks on during a qualifying round of the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2018 Ladies' Snowboard Halfpipe during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on December 7, 2017 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 25: Snowboarder Chloe Kim addresses the media during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 25, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Snowboarder Chloe Kim attends the 100 Days Out 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Celebration - Team USA in Times Square on November 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USOC)
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And let that not overshadow the heart of Jessie Diggins, the cross country skier with the iron will who, while the broadcaster roared “HERE COMES DIGGINS! HERE COMES DIGGINS!”, zipped past Norway and Sweden in the final stretch to bring home the first American cross country skiing gold medal.

Yes, stories abound for the men, too. Shaun White electrified with his near-perfect halfpipe gold medal. Within hours of the women’s hockey team outlasting Canada, the men’s curling team stunned the heavily favored Canadians as well. David Wise’s halfpipe gold, a successful defense of his gold in Sochi, was magnificent.

But the moments that will be remembered from these Games will, for the most part, begin with the women. It is the genesis of Kim’s career. It is Diggins becoming the small town girl who could. It is Vonn passing the torch to Shiffrin and Lamoureux-Davidson providing the most iconic goal in the biggest game in U.S. women’s hockey history.

“What this group has been able to accomplish is way beyond sport,” Gigi Marvin, a forward on the hockey team, said, “and that is something that is never going to fade. That’s something we’re so proud of.”

She was speaking about the hockey team, though the sentiment could be applied to the rest of the American female medalists, to stars old and new.

 

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