Some of the greatest celebrations in the history of the Olympic Winter Games 

How do athletes react when they win a Winter Olympic medal? Watch some of the most memorable celebrations in the history of the Olympic Winter Games as we welcome in the new year and gear up for the start of Beijing 2022.

By Vikram Mahendra
Picture by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The new year is here and the Olympic Winter Games are just over 30 days away! Welcoming in the new year is all about celebrations - and we’ll see plenty of those just over a month from now when athletes begin winning medals at Beijing 2022. But before the stars of winter sports descend upon the People’s Republic of China, you can relive some of the top celebrations from past editions of the Winter Games.

The USA celebrate the ‘miracle on ice’

The USA men’s ice hockey team produced arguably one of the greatest moments in Winter Olympic history when they beat the Soviet Union at the Lake Placid 1980 Games. Understandably, their joy knew no bounds when the final buzzer rang to signify a fairytale ending.

Watch the USA’s celebration at Lake Placid 1980 below

Baiul’s gold marks history for Ukraine

At the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games, Ukraine's Oksana Baiul not only became the first skater from her nation to win a gold medal but also had the honour of being crowned the first-ever Ukrainian Olympic champion post-independence. After a flawless skating routine, the 16-year-old broke down on the medal podium.

Watch Baiul’s historic moment of glory below

It never rains, it pours Winnie the Poohs on Hanyu

Japan’s Hanyu Yuzuru moves on the ice like few others in the history of figure skating, almost as if the ice rink was his second home. During the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, he put on an unforgettable performance full of style and panache. The gold was a foregone conclusion but what followed was a literal outpouring of stuffed toys onto the ice rink – a gentle reminder from the crowd of how much they loved the Japanese champion.

Watch Hanyu’s ‘Pooh shower’ at Pyeongchang 2018 below

Hungary’s quartet grabs nation’s first gold

Brothers Shaolin Liu and Shaoang Liu, along with Viktor Knoch and Csaba Burjan, won Hungary’s first-ever Winter Olympic gold medal at PyeongChang 2018 when they triumphed in the men’s 5000m short track relay. The reaction was something special to behold.

Watch Team Hungary celebrate its first Winter Olympics gold below

Marit Bjørgen’s becomes the ‘G.O.A.T.’

Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen became the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Winter Games when she won her 15th medal at Pyeongchang 2018. The legendary athlete couldn’t hide the delight on her face when she stood on the podium.

Watch Bjørgen’s crowning glory below

Steven Bradbury’s wildest dream comes true

Before the Salt Lake City 2002 Games, Steven Bradbury was a huge underdog. However, sport is full of glorious surprises and the misfortune of his competitors proved to be the moment that gave the Aussie skater a chance to make his lifelong dream come true.

Watch Bradbury celebrate his near impossible gold below

Dan’s decade-long wait ends

Do you know what it feels like to achieve your dream after 10 years of hard work, hardship and obstacles? Just ask U.S. speed skater Daniel Jansen. Despite an illustrious career filled with titles, the holy grail of an Olympic gold medal had eluded Jansen until 1994. But at the Lillehammer Games, in his final race, the American finally got the prize his efforts deserved.

Watch Jansen’s emotional gold-winning moment below

Jim carries the Shea legacy forward

USA skeleton racer Jim Shea was under considerable pressure heading into the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002. Not only was he competing on home soil, he was also attempting to live up to the Olympic legacy of his family, including Jack, his grandfather and multiple gold medal winner. At the Salt Lake City games, he continued his family’s legacy, adding another glorious chapter to the story.

Watch Jim Shea’s celebration after winning gold below

Ito Midori's unforgettable silver

Japanese skater Ito Midori is arguably one of the greatest skaters to not win an Olympic gold medal. However, that didn’t stop her from producing one of the greatest moments in Winter Olympic history at the Albertville 1992 Games. Up against the likes of Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan and Surya Bonaly, she needed to produce something dramatic to win a medal. Her decision? To land the triple axel.

Watch how Midori celebrated her unprecedented feat below

Two gold winners in a two-man bobsleigh final!

PyeongChang 2018 saw a rare occurrence in the competition’s history. Canadian duo Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz finished on exactly the same time as Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis in the two-man final, thereby sharing the gold medal. It was only the second time in the history of the competition that this had happened.

Watch one of the rarest moments in Olympic history below

The gold medal that Vonn almost didn’t win

Before Vancouver 2010, an injury almost put Lindsey Vonn out of the reckoning for the Olympic Winter Games. However, the hot weather in Canada delayed the Alpine skiing competition and gave Vonn time to recover. In the end, that’s all she needed as she roared to an incredible gold medal.

Watch Lindsey Vonn’s incredible celebration below


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