The Olympic flame is extinguished and those Games are over now in PyeongChang, but the Team USA athletes of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 left fans with many memories of daring performances, outstanding displays of athleticism and big medal victories.
Now it’s the fans’ turn to vote for which one stands out above the rest.
Snowboarders Red Gerard and Shaun White, freestyle skier David Wise, luger Chris Mazdzer and short track speedskater John-Henry Krueger are nominated for Male Olympic Athlete of the Games through the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of Games.
Here’s a look at what each one did in PyeongChang:
Hometown: Silverthorne, Colorado
Olympic Highlights: In his first Olympic Games, Gerard won the gold medal in slopestyle after going from last place to first on his third and final run. He later competed in big air’s Olympic debut, finishing in fifth.
PyeongChang Legacy: Gerard not only won the first medal of the 2018 Olympics for Team USA but he also became the youngest snowboarder ever to win an Olympic gold medal.
Fun Fact: Gerard took advantage of the break between slopestyle and big air events, flying back to the U.S. in between to do the late night and morning talk show rounds and pose for magazine spreads.
What Might Be Next: Gerard won’t have much downtime with the U.S. Open coming up. The event kicks off March 5 in Vail, Colorado, with slopestyle finals on March 9.
Sport: Short Track Speedskating
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Olympic Highlights: Another first-time Olympian, Krueger had the fastest time of the semifinals in the men’s 1,000-meter race and went on to win the silver medal.
PyeongChang Legacy: Krueger’s was the first individual speedskating medal for Team USA since Vancouver in 2010. It was also a much better ending than 2014 for Krueger, who didn’t even make it to the Games that year after coming down with swine flu during the Olympic Trials.
Fun Fact: A huge fan of Pittsburgh sports teams, Krueger got a shout out on Twitter from the Penguins after winning the silver medal.
What Might Be Next: The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships are quickly approaching. They’ll be held March 16-18 in Montreal.
Hometown: Saranac Lake, New York
Olympic Highlights: Mazdzer used his third run to leap from fourth place, just one-tenth of a second off podium position, to second and win the silver medal in men’s luge.
PyeongChang Legacy: Not only did Mazdzer set a track record with his third run, but he also became the first American and first non-European man to win an Olympic medal in singles luge. This was Mazdzer’s third Olympics; he placed 13th in both 2010 and 2014.
Fun Fact: While appearing on “Megyn Kelly TODAY” after his return home, Mazdzer got a surprise video message from celebrity crush Mila Kunis, who congratulated him on his medal, welcomed him home and told him he kicked (butt). He also announced on the show that he was donating $5,000 of his medal earnings to Classroom Champions.
What’s Next: Although Mazdzer plans to one day start a career in financial planning, it looks as if he’ll be sticking with luge long enough to go for a fourth Olympics in 2022.
Hometown: Carlsbad, California
Olympic Highlights: Unleashing an arsenal of tricks including two double cork 1440s on his third and final run, White scored an incredible 97.75 to win gold in halfpipe, sending him into an emotional celebration at the bottom of the run.
PyeongChang Legacy: White is the only American man to win gold medals at three different Olympic Winter Games, the first snowboarder ever to win three Olympic gold medals and he also has the second-most gold medals among U.S. men at the Olympic Winter Games. The win was also redemption after finishing a disappointing fourth place in Sochi in 2014. His gold also marked the 100th Winter Olympic gold medal in Team USA history.
Fun Fact: A musician himself, White shared his Olympic pre-competition music playlist on Spotify and it includes a mix of classic rock by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and newer indie tracks from bands including Santigold and Phantogram, his girlfriend’s band.
What’s Next: White is also expected to bring his talents to Vail for the U.S. Open, where the men’s halfpipe final is March 10.
Sport: Freestyle Skiing
Hometown: Reno, Nevada
Olympic Highlights: The defending gold medalist in halfpipe skiing fell on his first two runs but came back big on his third, landing double corks in four different directions to shoot to the top of the leaderboard with a score of 97.20 and win his second consecutive gold medal.
PyeongChang Legacy: Wise’s gold medal made him the only man to win an Olympic gold in halfpipe skiing as he won the event’s debut four years ago as well. His run will also be remembered not just as his personal best ever, but one of the best ever seen in the sport.
Fun Fact: Wise is a bit of a rarity in the world of elite freestyle skiing and snowboarding in that he’s a father of two. Three-year-old son Malachi climbed on the podium with him at the awards ceremony, followed by 6-year-old daughter Nayeli, and as Wise scooped up both kids wife Alexandra joined them, making it a true Team USA family moment. He later tweeted a photo, “The best (and heaviest) trophies I will ever have.”
What’s Next: Could he make it three in a row? With his stunning performance in 2018, it seems anything’s possible for Wise.