by Aliyana Raja

Every four years, athletes from all around the world gather at the Olympics to showcase their talent, determination and strive. Within a mere 17 days, over 92 nations and 2,922 athletes competed in Pyeongchang, South Korea in hopes of doing their country proud. Many come with the dream of receiving a gold medal and standing on a podium, while others come with the goal of proudly representing their country. There is no doubt about it, this year’s Olympics was a truly iconic one.

The Winter Olympics set a record this year with fourteen openly out LGBTQ athletes participating, including openly out men for the first time. NBC faced backlash for not identifying LGBTQ athletes the way they do for the ethnicity or gender of other athletes. The normalization of gay athletes ensures that in the future, it won’t be weird that they are participating in international sports competitions. It will also help inspire those who identify with them and create the perfect platform for LGBTQ athletes to use their voice. Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy posted a picture on Twitter with fellow Olympian Adam Rippon with the caption proudly stating, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” Although the number of openly out Olympic athletes still is very low, this is a huge step in the right direction in terms of inclusiveness and equality.

This year’s Olympics was surprisingly jammed packed with some political obstacles. For the first time in decades, North Korea and South Korea put aside their differences and walked together as one team at the opening ceremony. Although this became a beacon of hope for many, there was no avoiding the political drama that ensued afterwards. Many civilians protested North Korea’s participation in the games, as there has been tension between them and the rest of the world because of the country’s nuclear program progression. Despite that though, Korea took home 17 metals in total and showed that, differences aside, two rival countries can come together and play as one united country.