Every 4 years, athletes from across the globe gather for a snowy showdown. The Winter Olympics are here and we’re ready for athletes like Lindsey Vonn, moves like triple axels, and nostalgia like the Jamaican bobsled team.
Here are our picks for the most memorable Olympic moments—when grins took home the gold:
Dental Care Offered to Athletes
It was after the 2008 Summer Olympics that the Olympic Committee determined many athletes were unable to perform to their full potential due to lack of dental care.
Since 2010, a team of volunteer dental professionals gives athletes gratis care. In addition to care for traumatic injuries, routine cleanings are provided. At the London Olympics for example, nearly half of participants hadn’t had a dental exam in the last year. The clinic also provides mouthguards and on-site dentists during competitions.
Ice Skating’s Smile Secret
This strenuous sport requires stamina, strength and lots of smiling. And those smiles pay off positively in the judges’ scores. Practice makes perfect, according to ice skater Alexandra Paul. She and her partner spend hours analyzing their performance faces in studio mirrors and in video. “You don’t want to think about how your face looks during the program,” Paul said.
A Bite of the Gold
Olympians biting their gold is a podium tradition. No one knows for sure, but historical counterfeiting may play a role in the metal mystery. Coins used to contain precious metals, so money handlers would bite them to test their authenticity. Another explanation may be photographer’s obsession with the pose. The snapshot has become an Olympic staple, and iconic shots are easier to sell. Though interesting, the tradition is terrible for teeth. For example, in 2010, German luger David Moeller chipped his tooth biting his medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Find out our favorite smile milestones from past Summer Olympics.