On and off the Podium, Team Toyota Makes an Impression at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games
History was made, new records were set, but most importantly, there’s no denying the impact that the U.S. Team Toyota athletes left on this year’s Olympic Winter Games.
Whether they were first-timers or veterans of the podium, Team USA as a whole left its mark, earning 25 medals collectively, with U.S. Team Toyota Olympians accounting for six of those 25 medals. Some achievements were personal bests, and other triumphs marked national firsts. Six members of Team USA earned multiple medals at the Games, two of which are Team Toyota athletes —Nathan Chen and Jessie Diggins.
At Toyota, we’re proud of our Team Toyota athletes and their hard work, electrifying efforts and inspirational achievements. Below are some of the highlights from this year’s Olympic Winter Games.
At 22 years old, Nathan Chen took home his first individual Olympic gold medal in men’s figure skating. With his performance, Chen set a new short program world record with a score of 113.97 and became the first U.S. male skater to win Olympic gold since 2010. In the figure skating team event, Chen earned a silver medal, adding to the bronze he won in the team event at the Winter Games in 2018.
Quote: “When you prepare for competition, you try not to think of any variables,” Chen told TeamUSA.org. “You think, ‘I have to land these jumps, I have to focus in on these details my choreographer tells me about, I have to think of spin levels …. The rest of the noise, stays noise.”
Two-time Olympian Chloe Kim took first place in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe event. At 21 years old, Kim cemented her place in history as the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic golds in snowboard halfpipe. Her first run, which featured a method air, frontside 1080 tail grab, cab 900, switch backside 540 and cab 1080, earned her a score of 94.00, which was all she needed to reclaim her crown.
Quote: “I was more prepared this time,” Kim said. “I mean, we’re at the Olympics, a lot of nerves here. And the fact that everyone was able to overcome that and land the runs of their lives is just so impressive. I’m so proud of everyone, and I’m honestly so honored to be part of women’s halfpipe snowboarding.”
With a time of 37.04, Erin Jackson won her first Olympic gold medal becoming the first Black woman to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics and the first Black woman to win a medal in speedskating at the Winter Olympics. Her win also marks the first U.S. individual speedskating gold medal since 2010, and the 29-year-old is the first American woman to win the 500m event since 1994.
Quote: “I think I cried immediately,” Jackson said. “Just a big release of emotion. A lot of shock, a lot of relief and a lot of happiness.”
Three-time Olympian Jessie Diggins took the podium two more times at the Olympic Winter Games, adding to her gold in team sprint from 2018. In the individual freestyle sprint, she earned a bronze, becoming the first American to medal in in the event. At 30 years old, Diggins became the first American woman to medal in an Olympic long-distance cross-country race, earning silver in the 30km event. Diggins’ silver closed out the medal count for Team USA and she was presented with her medal at the Closing Ceremony. She is now the most decorated American in cross-country skiing.
Quote: “It was really emotional,” said Diggins. “That’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my whole life. My legs were cramping the whole last 17 kilometers. I don’t know how I made it to the finish. It was amazing.”
At his fourth Olympic Winter Games, Chris Mazdzer had his second-best Olympic performance in men’s singles luge, placing eighth after completing four competitive runs. During the relay, Team USA Luge — with Mazdzer competing as a singles slider — finished seventh, 2.335 seconds behind the leading team. In 2018, Mazdzer became the first American to win a men’s individual Olympic medal in luge, lifting the sport to American consciousness more than ever before.
Quote: “I just wanted to put down a great performance, and I really felt like I did,” Mazdzer said. “That was pretty sweet. It’s great to just go for it and finish off with good runs.”
At his second Olympic Winter Games, Red Gerard led the way for Team USA in the big air event, taking a top-five finish. The 22-year-old finished fourth in the event final for slopestyle snowboarding, the same discipline he won gold in four years ago at PyeongChang 2018 which cemented his name in history as he was the youngest male U.S. Olympian to capture gold in 90 years and the youngest Olympic snowboarder in history to win gold.
Quote: “All in all I made two finals at the Olympics and did what I wanted,” Gerard said. “I was consistent, I landed runs and I’ve had a great time with Team USA and with my best friends. That’s something that you get at the Olympics that you don’t get anywhere else. Just being with your team, the crew that we’ve built, it was very tight. It was exciting.”
Alysa Liu led the field for Team USA with a seventh-place finish in the women’s event. During the free skate, Liu landed seven triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations, in program set to a Tchaikovsky violin concerto. She also performed in the exhibition gala to close out the sport at the Games.
Quote: “I honestly just wanted to do two clean programs, and I can believe it – but I can’t believe it – I actually did two clean programs,” Liu said. “I mean I can, because I’ve trained so much, but like I can’t.”
Originally published March 8, 2022