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Most inspirational Olympic moments from 2022 Games

Most inspirational Olympic moments from 2022 Games
Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-19 23:20:31-05

The Olympics are typically full of inspirational moments, and the 2022 Winter Games were no exception.

Athletes from around the world overcame adversity, exceeded expectations and inspired the next generation. 

Here’s a look at some of what tugged at our heartstrings at the Olympics...

80s babies still got it

From heartbreak in 2006 to triumph in 2022, Lindsey Jacobellis had the ultimate redemption story at the Winter Olympics.

Sixteen years after a costly error near the finish line cost her a gold medal, Jacobellis captured the elusive individual gold with a win in snowboard cross. 

But Jacobellis wasn’t done turning back the clock. In the first ever mixed teams snowboard cross, she teamed up with 40-year-old Nick Baumgartner to capture the gold with an exhilarating run down the home stretch.

Days earlier, Baumgartner was emotional during an interview after not finishing on the podium in the men’s snowboard cross, upset that he might not get another chance to win an Olympic medal at age 40.

But in what may have been his final chance at Olympic glory, Baumgartner was golden. 

SEE MORE: 'Grabbing' gold: A look at Jacobellis in 2006 and 2022

SEE MORE: Heartbreak healed: Nick Baumgartner's wild (and golden) week

An amazing recovery

Italy’s Sofia Goggia wasn’t sure if she would be able to compete in the Olympics. Just 23 days before the Games began, the Alpine star crashed on a downhill during the World Cup and sustained a slew of leg injuries, including damage to the cruciate ligament in her left knee.

Not only did Goggia make it to the Olympics, but it almost looked like she never even got hurt as she flew down the downhill course to claim silver.

SEE MORE: Goggia goes for broke, despite recent crash, to earn silver

Hoping to inspire

Erin Jackson, who made the United States speed skating team out of the kind heartedness of her teammate, Brittany Bowe, paid off the gesture with a gold medal in the 500m race.

It was her first medal, and the first time a Black woman has won an individual gold in speed skating. 

Jackson told NBC’s Karen Rosen that she hoped her historic win inspires more people of color to pursue winter sports.

“Hopefully it has an effect,” Jackson said, “and we can see more minorities, especially in the USA, getting out and trying some of these winter sports. And I just always hope to be a good example, especially with helping kids see they don’t have to just choose one between school and sport.”

SEE MORE: Jackson becomes first Black woman to win speed skating gold

Keeping it positive

Mikaela Shiffrin had a rough Olympics. The star Alpine skier failed to finish in three of her events, making uncharacteristic mistakes that shocked observers.

But she still competed in all five events and was candid and honest in interviews following her DNFs. Shiffrin said she was grateful for all the support and focused on the “special moments” at the Games.

SEE MORE: Mikaela Shiffrin focusing on 'special moments' at 2022 Games

Living a dream

Donovan Carrillo trained at a shopping mall and was laughed at when he told people about his Olympics figure skating dream. But it was Carrillo who accomplished that dream at the 2022 Winter Olympics, becoming the first skater from Mexico to participate in the free skate

Carrillo was clearly taking in every moment at the Games, leaping for joy when he found out that he had enough points in the short program to qualify and kissing the Olympic rings on the ice.

SEE MORE: Carrillo, skater who trained at shopping mall, makes history

Representing the Red, White and Blue

Kaillie Humphries, one of the world’s top bobsledders, had to fight just to get to the Olympics. After leaving the Canadian national team in 2018, Humphries’ application for United States citizenship went through just ahead of the Olympics.

She then won gold in the first ever monobob event, the 36-year-old’s first medal for the United States. In an interview, she became emotional when talking about gaining citizenship after a long and difficult process.

“It’s not something that was guaranteed,” Humphries said. “It’s something that I had to fight tooth and nail for. The U.S. really had to accept me and take me on.”

SEE MORE: Monobob leader Humphries: 'The U.S. had to accept me'

Long-awaited recognition

Elana Meyers Taylor began the 2022 Winter Olympics by spending the Opening Ceremony isolated in a hotel room with COVID-19 and ended it as the flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony for Team USA.

In between, she claimed silver in the monobob and bronze in the two-woman bobsled to punctuate a challenging but inspirational Olympics.

SEE MORE: Unbeatable Moments: U.S. goes 1-2 in women's monobob debut

An improbable Olympic story

Puerto Rican William Flaherty's journey to the Olympics itself faced an improbable amount of hurdles.

Flaherty, who has a rare autoimmune disease, survived more than 20 surgies and 75 blood transfusions. He also received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from his brother at 3 years old and when his brother was just 7. 

But Flaherty was among the competitors in the giant slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, capping an inspirational journey. 

SEE MORE: William Flaherty's improbable story reaches Olympic GS run

Parrot wins gold three years after cancer diagnosis

Three years after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot claimed a gold medal in men's slopestyle at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Parrot's diagnosis shortly after the 2018 Olympics required six months and 12 treatments of chemotherapy. But Parrot, who won silver in PyeongChang, returned to win X Games medals in 2019 and 2020, and was back winning on the biggest stage in 2022. 

SEE MORE: Canadian Max Parrot improves to gold in snowboard slopestyle