Olympic moments that made us laugh, cry, and cheer at Beijing 2022

There's no doubt Beijing 2022 will be remembered for its amazing performances and top-tier competition. Sports fans are spoiled in the sense that we've come to expect those to happen at any Olympic Games. The enduring memories will come from the unexpected; the emotional moments which will be remembered long after the Olympic cauldron is extinguished.

There was no shortage of emotional moments over 18 days of competition

From left to right, Canadian speed skaters Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann, and Valérie Maltais celebrate after being presented with their gold medals for winning the women's team pursuit final at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

First came Tokyo, and now, Beijing. Both a Summer and Winter Games have come to a close in a little over six months time.

Like Tokyo 2020, there's no doubt Beijing 2022 will be remembered for its amazing performances and top-tier competition. Sports fans are spoiled in the sense that we've come to expect those to happen at any Olympic Games. The enduring memories will come from the unexpected; the emotional moments which will be remembered long after the Olympic cauldron is extinguished.

Some of the world's greatest athletes dared to go the extra mile with their actions, giving us tales of perseverance, sportsmanship, closure, joy, resilience, empathy, altruism, and love.

There was a little bit of everything in the Chinese capital. Here are some of the moments that made us laugh, cry, and cheer at Beijing 2022.

Reunited and it feels so good

It didn't take long for the heartwarming moments to begin. In fact, the opening ceremony set the stage for one of the most touching memories of the Games – at least for all the lovebirds out there.

Tournaments, training camps and COVID-19 isolation kept Team Canada members Blayre Turnbull and Ryan Sommer apart for more than three months.

The 90-day plus separation wouldn't be noteworthy given that Turnbull is a member of the Canada's women's hockey team and Sommer is a brakeman for the Canadian bobsleigh team. But there's one not-so-tiny detail: they got engaged this past April.

"Name a cooler place to be reunited with your fiance after spending the last 3 months apart….I'll wait," Turnbull wrote in an Instagram post showing the couple hugging during the opening ceremony.

Sister connection

Other than couples, Team Canada was also home to athletes with family ties. They also delivered when it came to moving people to tears.

Sisters and freestyle skiiers Justine and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe reminded everyone why sometimes there's nothing like a sibling bond.

When Justine crashed in the moguls competition on Day 2, 2014 Olympic silver medallist Chloé felt her younger sister needed her help to deal with the obvious disappointment.

WATCH l Justine Dufour-Lapointe comforted by sister Chloé after crash:

Justine Dufour-Lapointe embraced by sister Chloé after devastating crash in women's moguls final

6 months ago
Duration 1:41
Heading into the moguls final looking for a medal, Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe crashed, ending her chances at reaching the podium for the third straight Olympics. After her run, sister and fellow moguls skier Chloé Dufour-Lapointe embraced and consoled her younger sister.

"I felt right away her pain. I was like, 'she needs me,'" Chloé said to CBC's Alexandre Despatie. "I want her to know that I'm proud of her and she must be proud of herself. What she achieved was big. She went for it, that's the main thing I wanted her to know."

"I was so grateful to have my sister down there," Justine said. "I don't think I would have been able to hold myself like I did. Having people that you can trust that much and look in the eye and truly express how you feel for a couple of minutes was really reassuring and felt like everything was going to be OK."

It's a process

Short track speed skater Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., was able to repeat her PyeongChang 2018 bronze medal in the 500-metres final on Day 3 in Beijing.

Canada's Kim Boutin successfully defending her Olympic bronze medal in women's 500-metre short-track speedskating in Beijing on February 7. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

But the four years in between medals weren't a walk in the park for the 27-year-old. In fact, Boutin believes she wouldn't have been able to perform so well just less than a year ago. 

"If we were seeing me eight months ago, I was not that Kim," an emotional Boutin said. "I feel like that process, where I am right now, to feel in the eyes of my coaches that I was there... For me, that was the goal. To be happy on the ice, and I was.

"I'm proud of myself."

Kim Boutin on bronze medal win: 'I really lived this moment'

6 months ago
Duration 2:15
An emotional Boutin discusses her emotions after a podium finish at Beijing 2022.

Late tribute

Snowboarder Birk Ruud was one of the many athletes who contributed to Norway setting a new record for most gold medals won by a country in a single Winter Games at Beijing 2022.

When he captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in freeski big air on Day 5, someone very important and close to him wasn't there to see it.

His father, Øivind, passed away from cancer in 2021.

Norwegian snowboarder Birk Ruud claimed the first gold medal in ski big air Olympic history on February 9 in Beijing. (Harry How/Getty Images)

With the event finished and the gold medal secured, Ruud gave us one of the most touching moments of these Games.

Rocking the Norwegian flag around his neck, the 21-year-old looked to the sky before casually dropping a beautiful left double bio 1440 mute to both celebrate his medal and, in the eyes of many, to pay tribute to his dad.

A very worthy farewell

American snowboarder Shaun White came to Beijing as a certified legend. During the Games, he announced he would leave the Chinese capital as a retired athlete. A very prestigious one.

The 35-year-old from San Diego, Calif., holds the records for most Olympic and X Games gold medals by a snowboarder.

In Beijing, he finished fourth in the halfpipe event on Day 6, just shy of a farewell podium finish. What would follow, however, felt at the very least just as special.

White received a standing ovation after the final run of his Olympci career, with many of those saluting him being athletes he helped inspire.

"It was just giving it my all and truly enjoying every moment. It wasn't so much about winning and hitting the podium," he said after the event.

"It was more about squeezing the joy out of it."

WATCH l Watch legendary snowboarder Shaun White's Olympic swan song:

Watch legendary snowboarder Shaun White's Olympic swan song

6 months ago
Duration 1:43
Shaun White talks to CBC about leaving behind a snowboard legacy, and how proud he is to have been a forerunner of the sport.

So. Many. Emotions.

Canada claimed a double podium on Day 3 with Max Parrot of Bromont, Que., earning gold and Regina's Mark McMorris taking bronze.

Parrot earned silver at PyeongChang 2018 but was forced to miss the 2018-19 season after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

He returned to Olympic competition after winning his battle against cancer, and became an Olympic champion.

Musical | Max Parrot soars to gold in slopestyle:

Musical | Max Parrot soars to gold in slopestyle

6 months ago
Duration 1:45
Get all the sights and sounds of Canadian Max Parrot's gold medal in men's snowboard slopestyle in this musical montage.

We also learned that he'll soon become a father.

WATCH l Max Parrot adds 'dad' to his impressive list of accomplishments:

Max Parrot adds 'dad' to his impressive list of accomplishments

6 months ago
Duration 2:35
With his first baby on the way, Max Parrot is more motivated than ever by his family and has the results to prove it.

Despite the scoring drama that came after the event, Canadians everywhere had plenty to celebrate. Especially if they're related to one of the medallists.

McMorris' family lived through every bit of tension as their favourite athlete posted a bronze-medal run before celebrating the final landing that wrapped up an incredible performance.

And we were able to share the moment just like we were standing in their living room. 

WATCH l The McMorris' family reacts to a bronze-medal win in slopestyle:

Mark McMorris' family reacts to snowboarder's bronze medal in slopestyle

6 months ago
Duration 0:54
Mark McMorris' family watched from the edge of their seats during his bronze medal run.

Rise and shine

Meryeta O'Dine of Prince George, B.C., had an Olympics debut to remember.

After having to sit out of PyeongChang 2018 due to a concussion sustained days before her first event four years ago, the 24-year-old snowboard cross racer claimed not one but two bronze medals in Beijing.

Her second one, which came in the mixed event with partner Éliot Grondin of Sainte-Marie, Que., on Day 7, didn't come without some drama.

O'Dine was knocked down mid-race by Italy's Caterina Carpano, who landed on the Canadian's head. They were both able to get back up and complete the course, with O'Dine edging Carpano by 5.52 seconds to win bronze.

WATCH | O'Dine lands on podium after competitor lands on her:

Canada's Meryeta O'Dine lands on podium after Italian snowboarder lands on her

6 months ago
Duration 1:00
Italy's Caterina Carpano landed on Meryeta O'Dine of Prince George, B.C., during the Olympic mixed snowboard cross team big final. Despite the mid-air collision, O'Dine finished the race to earn bronze along with teammate Éliot Grondin of Sainte-Marie, Que.

"I saw Caterina's board going up and I was heading down and she kept going up and I was like, 'okay, I'm about to get landed on in the final,'" O'Dine said.

"[I] dug my head into the snow, popped it up and realized that I was doing a little bit better than she was. I just instantly got up and started hiking up the jump to try and get on the podium."

Camaraderie and fair play

Beijing 2022 saw many American-born athletes compete for China, with some judged both positively and negatively by the Chinese and the Americans.

But when four-time Olympian Xu Mengtao, who was very much born in the Chinese province of Liaoning, captured the women's aerials freestyle skiing gold on Day 10, herself and Ashley Caldwell of the U.S. taught everyone who was watching a lesson of how to do better.

Caldwell finished that event without a medal to her name, in fourth place. It didn't stop her from effusively congratulating "Tao-Tao", her competitor, friend and now Olympic champion.

WATCH l Aerial skier welcomes congratulatory hug from competitor:

Aerial skier welcomes congratulatory hug from competitor

6 months ago
Duration 1:00
Chinese aerial skier, Mengtao Xu, reacts to her gold medal win. Competitor and friend, Ashley Caldwell, joins her in the celebration.

"I respect all the athletes out there, but they also, I feel like, respect me," Caldwell said. "They know also how hard this is."

Mengtao's screams of joy were already something to see, but the hug definitely made the moment a memorable one.

Caldwell left Beijing with more than just memories. Shortly before that event, she won the gold medal in mixed team aerials, along with Christopher Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld. Mengtao earned silver with Jia Zongyang and Qi Guangpu.

Worth the wait

Canada had to wait eight long days for its second gold medal win at Beijing 2022.

When it finally came, on Day 11, it came with style.

Speed skaters Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais set an Olympic record en route to capturing Canada's first-ever Olympic gold medal victory in women's team pursuit.

They held off defending champions Japan, who had a solid lead until the very end when Nana Takagi crashed out and into the padding.

The Canadians' reaction says it all about how much it meant to them, as well as a country that had gone more than midway through the Games having celebrated only a single homegrown Olympic champion.

WATCH l Watch Canada's speed skaters' reaction to becoming Olympic champions:

Gold-medal feeling: Watch Canada's speed skaters' reaction to becoming Olympic champions

6 months ago
Duration 2:19
Isabelle Weidemann, Ivanie Blondin, and Valérie Maltais gave Canada their second gold medal of the Beijing Olympics, winning the women's team pursuit. Watch them cross the finish line and stick around for their reaction after they realize they've just become Olympic champions.

The honour was also manifestation at its finest.

Weidemann designed a "golden ticket" for herself and her two teammates, which they all kept in their wallets for months before flying to Beijing and cashing them in together.

WATCH l Weidemann designs 'golden ticket' to motivate team pursuit teammates:

Weidemann designs ‘golden ticket’ to motivate team pursuit teammates

6 months ago
Duration 1:43
For months before Beijing, Isabelle Weidemann, Valerie Maltais and Ivanie Blondin kept golden tickets in their wallets. Then they cashed them in for the real thing, Olympic gold.

Into the history books

Charles Hamelin's fifth Olympics brought him his sixth medal.

The 37-year-old Sainte-Julie, Que., native secured the men's 5,000-metre short-track relay gold medal on Day 12 along with teammates Steven Dubois, Jordan Pierre-Gilles, and Pascal Dion.

Charles Hamelin celebrates winning gold with his Canadian relay teammates after the men's 5,000-metre final on February 16 at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing. (David Ramos/Getty Images)
Hamelin is now tied with long track speed skater Cindy Klassen for most Olympic podiums by a Canadian Winter Games athlete. He also shares the Canadian record for most Olympic gold medals won -- four in total -- with women's hockey players Hayley Wickenheiser, Caroline Ouellette and Jayna Hefford.

Hamelin, who's expected to retire after the short track world championships in Montreal on March, wrapped up his Olympic career in fairy-tale fashion, giving Canadians everywhere a moment of pure joy from Beijing.

WATCH l Canada's reaction after winning short-track gold will give you chills:

Canada's reaction after winning short-track gold will give you chills

6 months ago
Duration 1:51
Canada won gold in the men's 5,000m short track relay, being led by speed skating legend Charles Hamelin.Their post-race reaction and celebration will give you chills.

Powering through injuries

Another Canadian double podium, another remarkable comeback, and another love story in Beijing.

Cassie Sharpe of Comox, B.C., tore her ACL and MCL at the X Games just a year ago. Fast forward to China, it turns out the joke is on whoever counted her out of the Olympics.

The 29-year-old captured a silver medal in women's freeski halfpipe, sharing the podium with fellow Canadian Rachael Karker, who took bronze.

"Exactly a year ago I had reconstructive ACL knee surgery in which they fractured my femur. It was just a crazy experience to go through that and the first three, four months after surgery I didn't know if I would make it here," Sharpe said.

Family members weren't allowed in Beijing due to the pandemic, but Sharpe still managed to share a sweet moment with her partner Justin Dorey. That's because he's an Olympic halfpipe ski coach for Team Great Britain, being able to stand by her side after Sharpe's podium-worthy run.

Getting a silver medal one year after a major knee injury is impressive enough. Now, how about doing it in 23 days?

Sofia Goggia of Italy did just that.

Weeks after sustaining a minor fracture and partial ACL tear in her left knee on January 23 in a World Cup super-G event in her native country, the 29-year-old grabbed the women's downhill alpine skiing silver medal on Day 11.

"For me, the Olympic Games are everything. It's my childhood dream," Goggia, the 2018 Olympic champion, said. "I always knew in my heart that with the effort it took to come back from that crash, the race itself would be the easiest part."

Goggia even found time to lend American Mikaela Shiffrin a pair of downhill skis with a special note that read "Fly Mika, you can."

Shiffrin, one of the biggest Winter Olympic stars heading to Beijing 2022, endured a disappointing tournament.

Just one month after winning a record 47th career world cup slalom race, Shiffrin failed to capture a medal in any of her five events.

She leaves Beijing with three DNF (did not finish results) from the giant slalom, slalom and alpine combined – all events she has won a gold or silver medal at Sochi 2014 or PyeongChang 2018.

Seeing one of the brightest alpine skiing stars of all-time struggle in Beijing was as surprising or upsetting for those who like to see great athletes doing great things.

WATCH l Mikaela Shiffrin crashes out again, won't claim individual medal at Beijing 2022:

Mikaela Shiffrin crashes out again, won't claim individual medal at Beijing 2022

6 months ago
Duration 1:20
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States fell during the slalom section of the women's alpine combined event at the Beijing Olympics, it was the third early exit in five events for the American ski star.

Jones' heartfelt moment

Canada entered the three Beijing 2022 curling tournaments leading the all-time Olympic medal table in the sport with 11 honours, but had to put up with a disappointing run in China.

The men's team, led by Brad Gushue, earned the bronze medal, but both Jennifer Jones' women's team and the mixed doubles duo of Rachel Homan and John Morris were ousted in round-robin play.

Despite the let downs, the fair play spirit seems to be so deeply rooted into Team Canada was very much on display at all times.

Jones, who led the Canadian women's curling team to an unbeaten gold-medal run in Sochi 2014, is the prime example.

In a now viral video, Jones emotionally hugs two Japanese players after the final round robin match while wishing them good luck.

Japan was heading to the semifinals while Canada was headed home. But that, of course, didn't matter when it comes to sportsmanship.

Golden rivalry

Few things in sports are as exciting as a major rivalry.

When it comes to Canada versus the U.S. in women's hockey, it's as special as it can get.

Lucky for the northern side of that rivalry, Canada claimed the gold medal in the final after a 3-2 victory over the U.S.

A pair of goals by infinitely clutch team captain Marie-Philip Poulin helped seal the payback for a loss in the final at PyeongChang 2018, when the Americans got the title in a shootout win.

It was clear it meant the victory meant the world to them both when the buzzer went off and when it was time to sing 'O Canada', with their new gold medals hanging around their necks.

WATCH l The moment Canada won Olympic hockey gold, from 15 different camera angles:

The moment Canada won Olympic hockey gold, from 15 different camera angles

6 months ago
Duration 4:10
Canada defeated the United States 3-2 in women's hockey to capture gold, and the celebration was 8 years in the making after getting silver in 2018. Watch the celebration after the clock expired, from 15 different camera angles inside the rink.

WATCH | Team Canada belts out national anthem after Olympic gold medal win:

Team Canada belts out national anthem after Olympic gold medal win

6 months ago
Duration 1:55
Watch Canada's national women's hockey team sing a stirring rendition of "O Canada" after defeating the United States 3-2 in the Beijing 2022 Olympic gold medal final.

Nothing but class

Above all medals and podiums, records and standings, the Olympics are about excellence, friendship and respect.

The three values of Olympism are what define the Games - and what we've seen displayed by Dutch speed skater Kai Verbij and cross-country skier Iivo Niskanen of Finland.

Verbij, the reigning world champion in the men's 1,000m discipline, had a fraction of a second to make a crucial decision on Day 14. Stay in medal contention and risk messing up Canada's Laurent Dubreuil's race or pull back and leave Beijing without a medal.

"I didn't feel I had enough speed to go before him in the lane change. So I had to quit. Otherwise, I would've been disqualified and probably messed up his race," said Verbij after the event.

"I can't say thank you enough to him," Dubreuil said. "It was a really professional and classy move to do. He's a friend, so when he's gets over it — I'll give him some time — I'll thank him for sure."

WATCH l Dutch speed skater's sportsmanship helps Canada's Dubreuil win silver:

Dutch speed skater's sportsmanship helps Canadian Dubreuil win Olympic silver medal

6 months ago
Duration 0:44
Canadian speed skater Laurent Dubreuil won silver in the men's 1,000-metre race, after dutch skater Kai Verbij backed off on the final crossover to not impede with the Canadian.

Another example of true sportsmanship and class came from three-time Olympic champion Niskanen of Finland.

Once he captured the gold medal in the Olympic men's 15km cross-country race on Day 9, Niskanen made sure to wait until last-place Carlos Andres Quintana of Colombia, making his Olympic debut at age 36, finished the race.

"Everyone worked hard to be here," Niskanen said. "You have to show this kind of respect at the Olympics towards countries that don't have much budget to get the best results, unlike the best nations."

WATCH l Cross-country champion waits 17 minutes for last-place finisher:

Cross-country champion waits 17 minutes for last-place finisher before celebrating

6 months ago
Duration 2:21
Finland’s Iivo Niskanen won the Olympic men’s 15km cross-country race, but in a show of Olympic solidarity, waited more than 17 minutes to congratulate Colombia’s Carlos Andres Quintana for finishing the race.

Excellence, friendship and respect. Exactly what the Olympics are all about.

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