As the 2018 Winter Olympics start winding down, it’s time to reflect on its many breakout stars. The U.S. women’s hockey team won gold. Chloe Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding medal with a gold-winning finish in the women’s snowboard halfpipe. Adam Rippon emerged as a fan favorite, both on and off the ice. But no one could have predicted an Olympic squirrel to emerge as one of the games’ furriest celebrities.
But that’s exactly what happened in PyeongChang on Saturday, February 24th, when a particularly brave squirrel darted onto the course during the women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom event. The “Olympic squirrel” — which we’ve decided is officially the critter’s nickname now — seemed to appear out of nowhere as Austria’s Daniela Ulbing competed in her heat.
Somehow this didn’t cause an accident, for the animal or the human. We imagine it would take a lot of skill to avoid hitting a squirrel while racing downhill on a snowboard. After all, it’s hard enough to avoid squirrels when you’re driving!
Viewers were especially impressed that Ulbing was able to win the heat, despite sharing the spotlight with the Olympic squirrel. However, it was ultimately the Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecká who went on to win gold.
If you ask us, both the squirrel and Ulbing deserve some kind of special medal. See the miraculous moment for yourself:
Twitter, of course, erupted in cheers.
Luckily, the now-famous Olympic squirrel was able to scamper off without injury.
Let’s hope the little guy has a big storage of nuts to go home to.