Host nation China nabbed its first gold medal on Saturday as dazzling performances on snow and ice nudged the political drama that has dominated the Beijing Olympics toward the sidelines.
“You can always trust China” began trending in posts on social media platform Weibo after its short track skaters won the mixed team relay, an event making its debut at the Olympics and that the country has dominated in international competition, reports Reuters.
The golden dream was almost cut short in the semi-final when the United States crossed the finish line ahead of the hosts, only to be disqualified along with the Russian Olympic Committee, after a lengthy video review.
Six gold medals were up for grabs on Saturday as athletes overcame pandemic obstacles to shine on the world’s stage, even as political storylines continued to swirl around the Games.
Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, forced to isolate from his team mates because of a COVID-19 close contact, proved there were few Winter Games shows quite like his.
A blistering skiing effort by the beloved biathlete brought his team back from the dead to triumph.
The close contact restrictions were still in place as the winners were presented with their bouquets of flowers, and Boe stood apart from his team at the ceremony.
Ursa Bogataj sparked Slovenian joy when she won the women’s normal hill ski-jump gold. Her compatriot Nika Kriznar claimed bronze as Germany’s Katharina Althaus had to settle for silver.
Norway nabbed the first gold medal at the Games when Therese Johaug powered to victory in the women’s skiathlon race, well ahead of Russian Natalia Nepryaeva and Austria’s Teresa Stadlober, who snagged the bronze medal.