The USA House is a place for Olympic athletes, their families and sponsors to gather. It offers live broadcasts of all the events, free food and drinks, and Wi-Fi.

My husband, Matthew McLeod, and I show off our badges outside the USA House.

Many countries have houses that are open to the public, but the USA House is by invitation only. As luck would have it, I scored an invite from one of the top officials for the United States Olympic Committee. (This is why it pays to be friendly when chatting on the Denver International Airport shuttle bus.)

On Feb. 22, the USA House was full of excitement. Three large screens broadcast the women’s hockey gold medal game between the United States and Canada. It was exhilarating to be a part of, as U.S. fans cheered and watched the game go into overtime after being tied, 2-2. After no one scored in the 20-minute overtime, it moved on to a shootout.

Fans held their breath in the house. Several people asked about the rules. Athletes, USOC staff, family and friends readied their cellphones for a video. And after the 5-5 shootout still yielded a tie, it moved on to the 1-1 shootouts. USA’s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson shot the puck, and fans went wild as it sailed in to the net. Then we held our breath as Canada’s Meghan Agosta took her shot. U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney stopped the puck, and the U.S. had its gold.

Before the game and during the breaks, several of the American medalists were presented with gifts and recognized with their families. They all spoke for a couple of minutes and thanked all the people who helped them get to this point. The atmosphere was cheerful as guests chatted and celebrated, munching on sloppy Joes, potato salad and snacks. Hershey’s Gold candy bars and red, white and blue Hershey’s kisses sat in bowls with other small snacks.

Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall (left) won gold in the women’s cross-country team sprint free final Feb. 21. It was Randall’s fifth Olympics and first medal.
Elana Meyers Taylor (left) and Lauren Gibbs won the silver medal in women’s bobsled Feb. 21. The athletes were presented with hats and watches in the Team USA House on Feb. 22.

The USA House is located in Nations Village, along with several other countries’ houses. The Korea House was located inside Gangneung Olympic Plaza. Its first floor was open to the public and offered cultural experiences such as trying on hanbok, or Korean traditional clothing, and singing in a K-pop music room. Japan, which will host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, is using its house to promote the upcoming event.

The Korea House allowed visitors to try on traditional Korean clothing, called hanbok, and snap photos.
Performers play in the Slovak House in downtown Gangneung.

About the author:

Allison Miriani

Allison Miriani has lived in Steamboat Springs since 2003 and enjoys snowboarding and snowshoeing. She and her husband lived and worked in Gangwan, South Korea, from 2013 to 2014. When they heard the 2018 Winter Olympics would be held in Pyeongchang, they knew they had to attend.