From the Snow Queen to the 'Gay Games', the highlights of the Winter Olympics

Pooh corner

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan reacts after competing in the Men's Single Free Program on day eight of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 17, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

A blizzard of Winnie the Pooh soft toys rained down on the Gangneung Ice Arena after Yuzuru Hanyu's breathtaking winning performance in the men's figure skating. The 23-year-old's army of fans have taken to greeting every performance by showering him with his favourite bear, and they did not disappoint -- although for reasons related to sponsors' rights, Hanyu was unable to take his favoured Winnie The Pooh tissue box with him into the "kiss and cry" area.

The Gay Games

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada compete in the Pairs Free Skating during day two of 2017 Bridgestone Skate America at Herb Brooks Arena on November 25, 2017 in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

Eric Radford said "he might explode with pride" after he became the first openly gay man to win Winter Games gold in the team figure skating event with Canada. Radford was not the only openly gay competitor in the team event, with bronze medallists the USA featuring 28-year-old Adam Rippon. And gay freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy said it was a moment that he "never dreamed" possible as a child after he was filmed kissing his partner on live television at the Olympics. The footage went viral on social media.

Bobble-hat beauties

North Korean cheeleaders attend the Men's 1500m Short Track Speed Skating qualifying on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

In line with an apparent thaw in inter-Korean relations and as part of a charm offensive from the North, Pyongyang despatched its famed, 200-strong "army of beauties" cheerleaders on the Winter Games. Decked out in red tracksuits and woolly bobble hats, they clapped and chanted in perfect unison and serenaded besotted local fans with tender love songs watched closely by North Korean minders -- while North Korea's athletes battled gamely, generally at the back of the field.

Chloe Kim

Snowboarder Chloe Kim poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 25, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Still pining after the retirement of figure skate queen Kim Yuna, South Koreans adopted a new sporting superstar at the Pyeongchang Games -- the only catch being she's American. Chloe Kim, the 17-year-old snowboarding phenom with Korean parents who shreds to Lady Gaga tracks, melted hearts as she swept to halfpipe gold, roared on by locals chanting her name. Full-on Chloe-mania and, for a few days at least, the American Kim was the face of the Games.

Czech 'Snow Queen'

Gold medallist Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic celebrates during the victory ceremony for the Alpine Skiing Ladies Super-G on day eight of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Jeongseon Alpine Centre on February 17, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

If Chloe Kim was week one's pin-up girl, Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecka quickly became the story with her astonishing alpine skiing gold in the super-G. The 22-year-old adrenaline junkie, who has been christened a "miracle on snow" by Czech media, completed a historic double when, as expected, she won snowboard's parallel giant slalom to become the first woman to win gold medals in different sports at the same Winter Games.

Topless Tongan

Pita Taufatofua of Tonga stands on stage during the Closing Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 25, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Tongan hunk Pita Taufatofua raised pulses when he peeled off for the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics. When he did it again as temperatures plunged to minus-20 at the Pyeongchang opening many thought he was quite mad. Glistening in coconut oil and dressed in only a traditional ta'ovala mat around his waist the 34-year-old beefcake once more set social media ablaze. In an added bonus he also avoided the wooden spoon in the 15km freestyle cross country, finishing 114th -- almost 23 minutes behind the gold medallist. And as a final twist, he stripped off and greased himself up again for the closing ceremony.

Shaun is White-hot

Gold medalist Shaun White of the United States celebrates during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Snowboarding legend Shaun White produced a jaw-dropping final run to win his third Olympic halfpipe title in one of the clutch performances of the Games. Asked serious questions by Japan's Ayumu Hirano, White went for broke on the final run and was a hair's breadth from a nasty wipeout on every one of his high-risk tricks. When his score flashed up White hurled his board away and celebrated with abandon, having finally exorcised the demons from his failure to win a medal in Sochi.

Wardrobe malfunction

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France compete during the Figure Skating Ice Dance Short Dance on day 10 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 19, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Gold-medal contender Gabriella Papadakis was left in tears after an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction cost her and ice dance partner Guillaume Cizeron the Olympic title. The mishap happened when she leaned backwards early on in the routine and Cizeron inadvertently unclipped the back of her costume, briefly exposing her breast. The pair bravely skated on but she left the ice sobbing. Canada went on to claim gold with the French pair taking silver.

Shiffrin gets the shakes

Silver medalist Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Alpine Combined Slalom on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

American ski star Mikaela Shiffrin started her quest for multiple gold medals with a bang by winning the giant slalom but quickly hit a wall in the slalom where she was defending the Olympic title she won in Sochi. She vomited with nerves at the start gate and failed to medal, coming home in fourth. She bounced back to win silver in the women's combined event but finished the Games distinctly at even-par after failing to live up to the hype.

Garlic Girls add spice

Kim Eunjung of South Korea competes during the Women Curling round robin session 7 on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Curling Centre on February 18, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Five girl-next-door types who go by the names Pancake, Yogurt, Cookie, Steak and Sunny proved an unlikely hit as the South Korean curlers went on an improbable run to the women's gold medal match. Their success in the mysterious ancient pursuit trigged curling fever in South Korea as fans flocked to see the team dubbed the "Garlic Girls" -- after their hometown of Uiseong, a rural town famous for garlic farming. Their bid for gold ended in glorious failure, however, as they were mashed by the Swedes in the final.

Last but not least

German Madrazo of Mexico holds the flag of Mexico as he approaches the finish line during the Cross-Country Skiing Men's 15km Free at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images,)

Mexico's German Madrazo was dead last after 15 kilometres (nine miles) of gruelling freestyle cross-country racing, but that did not wipe the beaming smile from his face as he trudged alone to the finish, a Mexican flag proudly in his grasp. He was met at the line by Pita Taufatofua -– the bare-chested Tongan – and held aloft in the air, his flag flapping in the wind and the crowd cheering as if he had won.

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