Laugh Your Way to the Podium: The Funniest Moments from the Winter Olympics

The Olympics are the best in solo and team sports performances, be they from the summer or the winter. From amazing feats of skill to memorable performances, people worldwide love to tune in and watch. Some people get hurt badly, but thankfully injuries are few and far between, which means we’re ready to take a look at some pictures that will keep you laughing even if you don’t have Olympics to watch right now. Funny faces, bad spills, and more are ready to lift your spirits.

Keep on Spinning

As one of the United States’ figure skating team members, Bradie Tennell is one of the world’s best at this difficult and fast-paced sport. At high speeds, figure skating requires you to have full control of your arms, legs, and body, but what about the face?

Getty Images Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
Getty Images Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV

This picture of Tennell makes us think that it’s the one thing that is forgotten. Imagine if figure skaters were judged on their ability to make the right faces all the time? Nobody would ever win gold. Even someone like Tennell, who has won an Olympic bronze medal, let’s fly a goofy expression every once in a while.


While it looks like Scott Moir is screaming to the heavens to avenge Tessa Virtue’s passing, this picture is actually from the moment they completed their performance. Even highly-trained figure skaters will let fly with some emotion if they think they’ve done well, as we see here.

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When they stuck the final landing, Moir held Virtue in his arms and announced his triumph. He wasn’t the only one who thought they nailed it – the pair won the gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Canada’s winners not only brought home the gold, but they brought home a goofy picture that had plenty of friends and family laughing.

A Close Shave

North Korea’s Ryom Tae Ok grits her teeth as she swings near the ice as her partner, Kim Ju Sik, nearly dropped her during their figure skating performance. It’s a grim reminder that even at such a high level, mistakes will happen. It’s likely this pair wasn’t performing at the highest level – they didn’t reach the podium, and thanks to some late paperwork, the pair almost didn’t perform at all.

Getty Images Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT

If Kim Ju Sik had lowered Ryom Tae Ok any lower, this could have ended much differently. There was a lot of pressure on these performers since the Olympics took place in Pyeongchang.

Taking to the Skies

There’s always one name that takes the Olympics by storm, no matter when or where they’re held. In 2018 it was Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova who dominated the singles figure skating.

Getty Images Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Not only did she come away with the gold medal, but at only fifteen years old, she made history by setting the record for the highest score in a “short” program. Zagitova will certainly go on to bigger and better things, and in the meantime, we get to enjoy a picture of her practically horizontal over the ice during her routine. This high-flying skater has nowhere to go but up.

No Pain, No Gain

The split-second photography that takes place during figure skating doesn’t always lend itself to make the men and women of the intense sport beautiful. Take Canada’s bronze-medal winner in Pyeongchang, Kaetlyn Osmond, for instance.

Getty Images Photo by Ronald Martinez – International Skating Union

She wowed judges and audiences with her skill and technique, and making one move when she had her skate so far behind her back she could grab it with both hands. It looks like she was being controlled by another, but while the moment makes for a funny image, the move itself went off without a hitch, earning Osmond the bronze and a great memory to share with friends.

A Bird’s Eye View of a Fall

What do you think is going on in this picture? Is Evan Bates, the male half of this American figure-skating duo, so strong that he can carry his partner Madison Chock in his arms while doing his entire routine? We’re afraid not – this is actually the moment of a bad spill during their routine.

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Figure skaters are used to falling while they perform, so likely they didn’t get any bad injuries, but there’s no way around it: the judges aren’t going to like that. And they didn’t – Madison and Evan got ninth overall, though another pair of Americans did get the bronze in ice dancing.

An Audacious Move

Now here’s a pose for you to wonder over. A pair of British Olympians – Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland – had their worlds turned upside-down when they pulled off this move in the Figure Skating Pairs competition.

Getty Images Photo by Steve Russell

Coomes’s legs are fully wrapped around Buckland’s neck, which makes us wonder what would have happened if Buckland had lost his balance. No doubt it would have resulted in some pretty bad injuries for Coomes, but thankfully Buckland stayed upright, and the move didn’t result in any injuries. The balance and poise required to pull off this move is something to marvel at.

The Siblings Astound

The Shibutani Siblings, also known as the “Shib Sibs,” are among the most exciting pairs of figure skaters performing right now. Maia and Alex won the bronze at the 2018 Olympic games, thanks in part to the impressive stunt you can see in the picture.

Getty Images Photo by Maddie Meyer

It’s a little hard to tell exactly what kind of stunt they’re pulling in the picture, but we can also say that it looks like Alex is about to deliver a finishing move on his sister, vis a vis the wrestling ring. We can’t imagine it would result in many points for the pair, but it would definitely be memorable.

They Aren’t Fooling Anyone

One of the things that make figure skating such an exciting sport is the acting aspect. A pair of figure skaters play out a small story, often involving romantic elements. They can be quite stirring. The Canadian figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir maintain the story that they aren’t involved, but their performance, and the picture you see here, make it hard to believe them.

Getty Images Photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star

There was even pretty wide speculation, and who can blame the gossipers? Just look at the smoldering look that they’re giving each other. Of course, they are professionals, and it’s probably pretty hard to flirt with someone when you’re concentrating really hard on not smashing her skull open on the ice.

He’s Playing The Floor is Lava

Doing a split is no easy feat, but United States figure skater Nathan Chen can do them in his sleep or while flying through the air. He was only eighteen years old when he appeared at the Winter Olympics in 2018, and he’s a promising figure skater who is one of the names to watch.

Getty Images Photo by Valery Sharifulin

He achieved an enviable score during the free skate competition. Somehow, he didn’t get a medal, but he did set a record six quads, or quadruple axel, a jump with at least four but less than five full revolutions. Plus, as we can see, he’s pretty limber.

No Medal This Time

Alla Tsuper had been in the spot before. After winning the gold medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in the women’s aerials, she knew she had what it took to win again. Why don’t you take a quick look at that picture and see how it ended up for her?

Alamy Stock Photo

Before she landed, it was a promising start, but she misjudged the speed of her stunt and ended up rolling into the snow, hopefully creating a big snowball around herself like in cartoons. While nobody was laughing when Tsuper landed, she’s all better now. A fellow Belarus competitor, Hanna Huskova, won the gold in the women’s aerials.

Don’t Lie; You’d Do It Too

Snapping a quick pic of yourself after you’ve done something cool or fun is commonplace nowadays. If you’ve just taken the podium to receive a gold medal, proving all that hard work and training time worth it, they might as well take a picture. Here we see Canadian snowboarder Sebastian Toutant giving his biggest grin ever, wrapped in the maple leaf, having just won the gold.

Getty Images Photo by Matthias Hangst

His friend and silver-winner, Kyle Mack, watches on, content with winning second-place for the United States…but watch out, Toutant. But there’s no animosity here, just two winners who are ready to kick their feet up for a little while after spending years training.

Ready to Capture Every Moment

If you’re wondering how we have so many pictures of weird and funny moments from the Olympics, here’s why: the cameras are watching EVERYTHING. From competitors taking the podium to slips and falls, the cameras never blink.

Getty Images Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom

So when Austrian skier Matthias Mayer fell in the middle of the men’s combined alpine skiing competition, there were camera crews right around the corner, waiting to get the scoop. While Mayer wouldn’t win a medal here – and no surprise with a fall like that – he would win gold in the men’s alpine skiing super-G, which is the competition that focuses on pure speed.


Bouncing over a fellow skier is an unconventional move, which is why when Italian skier Debora Pixner does it in this picture, she’s mere moments away from a crash during the quarterfinal of the ski cross contest. From the picture, the skier directly below her can thank her lucky stars. She wasn’t part of the crash as well.

Getty Images Photo by Ryan Pierse

Of course, Pixner might not have had a choice – it was either an assured crash on the ground or took a chance with a jump that might just work. It didn’t, but at least it created this gold medal of a funny pic.

Winning and Losing

The man in the top-right corner of this picture is Slovenian hockey player Jan Mursak. He’d just scored the overtime goal to propel his team to a win against Team U.S. during the group stage of men’s hockey.

Getty Images Photo by Harry How

Multiple members of the United States squad are sprawled on the ice as they come to grips with the loss, but Mursak is cheering, stick raised toward the camera. He’s celebrating now, but neither team would make it past the group stage for a chance at a medal. Celebrate while you can, Mursak because you’re headed home soon.

Smile! No, Smile. Please.

Figure skating is famous for giving us some of the funniest faces during the Winter Olympics. As this list shows, there are plenty to choose from, with each one giving us something unique and hilarious to enjoy while we’re waiting for the Olympics to come back.

Getty Images Photo by Maddie Meyer

Having your picture taken while you’re doing something intense always makes for a goofy face, as Chinese figure skater Li Xiangning found out during her routine. It looks like she’s cringing away from a large South Korean ice spider, which is definitely real, trust us. Alas, she’s just yet another skater who had her picture taken at the wrong time.

Hold Me Closer, Figure Skater

How many times are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir going to appear on this list? They won two gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but that number has nothing on all the funny photos the cameras took of them.

Alamy Stock Photo

In all likelihood, they slipped on their way to the podium because after all the grace and poise they displayed on the ice, it has to balance out somewhere. Scott has plenty of practice keeping Virtue in the air, and this picture proves that he’s plenty accustomed to it. It looks like he’s on his way to a picnic.

The Margin of Victory

“No one remembers second place,” they say. Still, it’s going to be hard for anyone who witnessed this literal photo-finish to forget Martin Fourcade, the French skier, who missed out on the gold medal to Simon Schempp by mere inches and what was likely a hundredth of a second.

Getty Images Photo by Adam Pretty

Simon Schempp won the gold medal for Germany and is probably thanking his lucky spaetzle that he had that fraction of a second separating him from the silver. In fact, it looks like if the track had been a meter or even a foot longer, Fourcade could have easily won. His stride looks like it has more speed to it.

An Action Shot a Movie Would Want

Such dynamic poses! What a sense of speed and motion! This is the kind of picture that appears on the walls of a hockey coach’s office or even the casual fan’s bedroom. Team U.S. player Jocelyne Lamoureux has just snapped the puck at the net, and Canadian goalkeeper Shannon Szabados is making a last-second dive to prevent the deciding goal in the gold-medal match.

Getty Images Photo by Bruce Bennett

So how did it turn out? Take a look at the results, and you’ll see that the United States won the gold in women’s hockey, and the shot you see in the picture ended up being the goal that kept the team in the game for the win.

This One is Intentional

There is plenty of figure skating that will show up on this list, but for the most part, the picture of them is capturing an intense moment during their routine that has their face twisted into an unnatural shape or moments before a possible fall.

Alamy Stock Photo

The American pair Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are another famous pair that is getting closer and closer to a medal every time they compete, and you can’t deny their poise on the ice. They have lots of charm and charisma, and the picture here shows that even while they’re performing, Madison at least has enough control to pull a funny face with one finger in her mouth.

Real Confidence

There’s an interesting theory in psychology that has to do with confidence. The more you practice and the more confident you get in your skills, the better you’ll perform when people are watching you. Such is the case with Olympic athletes, who train and train and train to perform well under one of the biggest spotlights in the world.

Getty Images Photo by Ramsey Cardy

Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas is a little showy in this photo, not even grabbing her board during a trick in the big-air event. If she had been any more confident, she might have fallen off, but the trick completed without a hitch.

A Bad Fall

Speedskating is simple in theory but dangerous in practice, just like digging your own swimming pool. In the women’s short-track semifinal during 2018, two contenders fell before the end of the match.

Getty Images Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Chinese skater Li Jinyu was able to get up and continue skating, moving on to the finals and winning the silver medal. Still, Great Britain’s Elise Christie suffered an injury and was unable to move from her fallen position. A stretcher had to remove her from the rink so she could get help, but thankfully the injury was to her ankle, and she made a full recovery.

Jumping for Joy

Finish skier Iivo Niskanen wanted to win, of course, but the fifty-kilometer mass start event is a grueling race that will tire even the hardiest athletes. Thus, when he found out that he was the first to cross the finish line, there was nothing else for him to do but kick up his heels and cheer.

Getty Images Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom

Nine other competitors had to hang their heads in failure, but Niskanen had enough good cheer for all of them. With Finland’s flag around his shoulders, it looks like he’s about ready to make a gold-medal snow angel, skis in hand.

They Call Him the Blur

While most of the photos on this list are from competitions, this one of Team US’s John Daly is only during practice. Skeleton is one of the most dangerous Olympic sports to perform in – competitors fly headlong down a twisting, winding track at high speeds, risking life and limb for the glory.

Getty Images Photo by MOHD RASFAN

Daly is moving so fast that the camera tracking him has turned everything, else, even the icy track, into an unintelligible blur. It’s a great picture, but Daly didn’t wow during the actual competition, finishing a miserable eighteenth place. If this picture shows us Daly’s speed, how fast did the other competitors go?

The Medal is Up There Somewhere

Before his routine was even over, Japanese free skate performer Yuzuru Hanyu knew that he was doing well. He’d go on to take home the gold, and one of the reasons was the moment when he thrust a hand toward the sky to pull the stars down to him.

Getty Images Photo by Peter Kneffel

The image captures the athlete’s determination, the grace he has trained for, and the success he has already achieved. Every time he slides out onto the ice, he climbs a little higher, which might be why he has his hand outstretched in such a way…he’s got a rope that is pulling him up.

A Moment of Passion

This article has plenty of images of people pulling a face or making a move that would eventually get the gold, but not all of them. Some are big, stinking failures, but this picture shows us something in between. Slovenia’s Zan Kosir won the bronze in the parallel giant slalom.

Getty Images Photo by Sergei Bobylev

While most of us would be plenty happy with a bronze medal, Kosir wasn’t, and when he found out the results, he threw his helmet to the ground. We got this great picture in the split-second the helmet is in the air, and Kosir certainly doesn’t look happy. Hopefully, he’s come to appreciate his bronze.

An Airborne Trio

Any race, especially during the Olympics, is going to have an undeniable competitive nature. Thanks to this picture, we can see that none of the competitors in the ski cross event are willing to let their fellow athletes get too far ahead, even if it means taking the exact same flight path.

Getty Images Photo by Mike Egerton

However, these individuals are just practicing. It looks like the one in the yellow ski suit is moments away from getting his teeth knocked out. Still, in all likelihood, this is camera trickery, and the skiers are distant enough to maintain safety—no sense in getting hurt before you’re even going for the gold.

Pig Pile!

An individual winning a gold medal at the Olympics is a huge achievement, but nothing is like being on a team that gets the gold. This picture shows us the truth: When the team succeeds, everyone is thrilled.

Getty Images Photo by Valery SharifulinTASS

The Russian hockey team worked together to bring down the assumed gold-medal Germans in a 4-3 overtime victory, shocking the world – the German team had bulldozed all of their other opponents. After this wild celebration on the ice, you can be sure that an afterparty the likes of wish they’ve never seen took place, with all the vodka they could drink.

At Least They Have the Bears

The Korean women’s hockey team, which was composed of members from both North and South Korea, didn’t last very long. They fell to the Japanese team with a painful 4-1 team. At the end of the game, the audience members took to tossing stuffed bears – one of the mascots of the games.

Getty Images Photo by JUNG YEON-JE

The picture has two members of the Korean team consoling each other, aware they’re going home in disgrace –  but the image is certainly an odd one, with the athletes carrying a few of the bears while embracing.

A Little Close for Comfort

There’s no doubt that the Winter Olympics are one of the most broadcasted and captured events every four years, so pictures of every event give us something to marvel at. Every once in a while, a cameraman gets closer than he expected to the athletic action.

Getty Images Photo by Matthias Hangst

Skier Maddie Bowman from Team US got a crazy close-up from the cameraman on the left side of this picture, and we’re lucky to have a picture of the interaction. Unfortunately, Bowman didn’t wow in her chosen event, failing all three of her finals. Still, she has the picture…to remind her of her failure.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

The Olympic rivalry between Team US and Canada is intense for several reasons. Both have had a good deal of success, and it isn’t that uncommon to see both countries in the finals of many events, especially during the winter. Hockey, in particular, is one that has plenty of emotions attached to it, and the women’s hockey teams got into a spat in the preliminary round.


It turned into a large brawl, and referee Jenni Heikkinen got caught in the middle. She eventually split the teams up, and the game was able to continue. Canada squeaked into the next round, beating Team US 2-1.

Norsemen Love to Battle

Sweden and Finland are where the Vikings came from, sort of. They’re cold-weather countries that love their hockey, too, which means that when they meet in the Olympics, you know that the gloves are going to fly. If you aren’t throwing a few punches while you’re on the ice, you probably aren’t playing hockey right.

Getty Images Photo by Ronald Martinez

In this picture, Finland’s Veli-Matti Savinainen and Sweden’s Patrik Hersley got into a fight in a preliminary, and the top-down camera gave us a good look at the action. Sweden won the duel of the European countries three to one. Thankfully the hockey rules don’t allow horned helmets anymore.

Nothing Will Stop Them

Now here’s a crash that destroyed the German team’s chance at a medal in the two-person bobsled, surely. The two members, Nico Walther and Christian Poser suffered a bad spill during one of their runs, and you can even see them doing everything in their power, including righting the sled, to continue their run.

Alamy Stock Photo

The effort was, in the end, futile, and the run was a waste. Believe it or not, however, not only did they go on to do rather well, this two-person team went on to win the silver medal! Bobsledding uses an aggregate of multiple runs, so it wasn’t an immediate DQ, but they had to perform flawlessly for a chance…which they did.

It’s Fun to Win at the Olympics

Here’s a question for you. Why is the Swiss skiing team all doing the “M” from the YMCA song? Whether it’s before, and they’re all hoping to make it to the podium, or it’s after their events are all done, and they’re celebrating their success, M must stand for medals.

Getty Images Photo by Sean M. Haffey

The first person to pull this pose at the Olympics was Mo Farah, a British long-distance runner and the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. He won tons and tons of medals for queen and country, putting his hands on his head in this way to celebrate himself. Plenty of other athletes picked it up.

The Dangers of Snowboarding

Sliding across packed snow at top speeds with nothing but a thin piece of plastic between you and snow burns makes snowboarding a surprisingly dangerous sport, even when you’re the best in the world. Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot knows this better than most, and this picture shows why.

Getty Images Photo by David Ramos

He fell and crashed while competing in the slopestyle event, and the world held its breath to learn how badly he had been hurt. Thankfully, Parrot was unscathed except for his pride. He even went on to earn himself a shiny silver medal in the same event. Ah, the unstoppable willpower of the athlete who is determined to win. There’s nothing like it.

A Fierce Look

In recent decades, the world has shrunk. Not literally, of course, but metaphorically. We’re able to watch people eat lots of food in Japan, dance at a funeral in Ghana, or fall on their face in Ireland. This picture also has to do with Ghana since it features Akwasi Frimpong, the first Ghanaian to compete in the skeleton event.

Getty Images Photo by MARK RALSTON

After only two years of competing, Frimpong made it to the Olympics. While his performance didn’t garner much attention, his outfit, including a helmet with a snarling lion, was the talk of the town for a little while. Is there somewhere we can get our own?

Piledriver on the Ice

Hockey is sometimes described as a fight on ice skates, and when you’re performing for a gold medal on the world stage, tempers and fists can fly. So is the case in this picture, which shows the moments after Russia’s Artyom Zub body-checked Germany’s David Wolf, right in front of the German bench.

Alamy Stock Photo

A fight broke out in moments, and it took some time for the referees to settle everyone down and get the game started again. The German team’s woes weren’t over just yet, since Russia went on to beat them four to three in overtime. Bad luck for the Germans.

A Long Way Down

In the previous Winter Olympics, US figure skater Adam Rippon had been promising, if not a headliner. When he landed in Pyeongchang, however, he ended up being somewhat of a disappointment for the team, getting the tenth place in the singles event. His routine was actually well done, but there were too many better performers.

Getty Images Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP

A quick photographer grabbed this image of Rippon horizontal to the ground as he pulled off a maneuver. The way the photo is arranged makes it look like he’s just standing on the ice, and the Olympic rings behind him are upright, but in fact, it’s the opposite.

Please Work, Please Work, Please Work

Here we have Russian figure skaters Dmitri Soloviev and Ekaterina Bobrova pulling off a move that…we think that Bobrova is wearing…we don’t know what’s happening here. We don’t know if it’s safe, and we’re not even sure if it’s legal.


What we are sure of is Bobrova is really hoping that the move goes well since it doesn’t look like she has all that much control over what part of her body is going to hit the ice first, and the face that Soloviev is pulling makes us worry about what happened when they tried to disengage. Good luck, Bobrova.

Come Back!

Married couples are somewhat common in figure skating. Think about it – you’re working together all the time, you’re in great shape, you have intimate physical contact, and the OUTFITS. The couple of Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim made it all the way to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Getty Images Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV

During their pair’s performance, we got this picture, which made it look like Alexa is rethinking the relationship. Chris is still into it, as far as we can tell, and he’s not about to let his ice princess go. Don’t worry about this couple – Chris has stepped away from the skates, but their relationship is strong.

Do You Trust Me?

“Yeah, no problem, just toss me up into the air while I’m wearing knives on my feet, and then catch me moments before I suffer an ice-related demise.” No doubt this is what Russian figure skater Natalia Zabiiako had going through her head as she spun feet above Alexander Enbert in 2018.

Getty Images Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP

We can only hope the things going through Enbert’s head were “Catch her, catch her, catch her,” over and over until Zabiiako was safely back on the ground. Maybe he also threw in a “Watch out for the knives on her feet” in there somewhere, just to cover all of his bases.

Worth it All

Reaching the podium at the Olympics is big. Really big. You only get the chance to compete every four years, and you’re going up against the best in the world, no matter what country you’re from. So if, like Norway’s Marit Bjørgen, you get all the way to the gold medal spot, and you jump for joy, nobody will think anything of it.

Getty Images Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE

Bjørgen brought home the gold to her home country, and it’s no surprise to anyone – she is the most decorated Winter Olympian ever, and this medal in cross-country skiing was just one more for the trophy case.

That’s the Cleanest Rink Ever

In this picture, a few of the workers at the games in South Korea celebrate after getting the rink in perfect shape for the next… We have just been notified that these are, in fact, athletes and have just won the bronze medal in curling. This honestly is something we should have figured out since they have big, bold “JAPAN” on their shirts.

Getty Images Photo by WANG ZHAO

Curling is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to winter sports, but it’s taken off in a big way internationally. Using heating brooms and a large stone, athletes try to land the stone right in the center.

He Gets Good Signal Up There

While Swiss snowboarder Michael Schaerer is spending some time warming up for his big-air snowboarding event, one photographer captured an image of him with an array of towers around him. At first glance, it looks like they could be cell phone towers, but they’re actually poles that have huge amounts of incredibly bright lights so that events that take place during the night.


Since it is winter, that’s anything after about four o’clock – have enough visibility for the competitors, judges, and audiences. Plus, what’s he gonna do while he’s up there? Snapchat?

Yup, Those are Curlers

Nothing like a bit of curling to take your mind off of things like sweeping and moving heavy stuff around. Those four random dads are celebrating their gold-medal victory over Sweden. Curling is a unique winter sport in that it’s the only one you can comfortably play in slacks and a polo shirt.

Getty Images Photo by Richard Heathcote

This was the United State’s first gold medal in the sport since it joined the other Winter sports in 1998. It had been a demonstration sport for about sixty years, since 1932, but it was a medal sport the first time it appeared, in 1924.

A Gold Medal in Cuteness

Squeaker McSqueakens took gold in acorn-gathering in 2018. The silver and bronze winners had already stepped off, allowing McSqueakens his time in the spotlight. McSqueakens had been a rising star in the acorn-gathering world for years before making it to his first Olympic Games.

Getty Images photo by FRANCK FIFE

He won the gold for Ukraine by gathering an astounding average of ninety-two acorns over five heats, beating the silver-medal winner, Cheeks Fluffytail of Sweden, by three and a half.