The Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, began on Feb. 8, and because of the worldwide interest in what has been happening in North Korea in recent months, this year’s Olympics attracted a lot of media attention before it even began. If you keep up to date with current affairs you probably already know this, but what don’t you know about the Olympics?
The opening ceremony and closing ceremony: As mentioned earlier, the games began on Feb. 8th, but the opening ceremony was held on Feb. 9th. It reportedly took place in subzero temperatures, but the weather is not the most fascinating thing about the opening ceremony; South Korea put on an impressive fireworks display to kick off the 102 medal events for 15 disciplines but also had a strong message of peace and harmony.
The games will officially end on Feb. 25th.
The diplomatic developments: For North and South Korea the games could provide a political opportunity and initiate a diplomatic truce between the two nations. In these games, North Korea will be bringing 22 of their finest athletes to compete across three sports, and, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, will be in attendance as one of the VIPs.
However, this unification has also affected sports because according to The Guardian, there will be one Korean women’s ice hockey team. This is the first time in history that this has happened, and the two nations will compete under the name Korea and use a unification flag.
The Russian doping controversy: It’s not just North Korea that has attracted attention but also Russia, with many of their athletes being barred from competing in the games due to state-supported doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. However, there are 169 athletes who were deemed clean by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and according to Time, 28 Russian athletes had their doping bans overturned. That said, these athletes are not allowed to march under their country’s flag, nor hear their anthem if they place.
What makes this Olympics special? Well, for starters athletes from six nations which have reportedly never competed before will be in attendance at the 2018 games. These nations are Nigeria, Ecuador, Eritrea, Malaysia, Kosovo, and Singapore.
There will be a Nigerian women’s bobsleigh team, who happens to have quite a remarkable story because according to reports, athlete Moriam Seun Adigun, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics as a hurdler, set out to start the world’s first Nigerian bobsleigh team in 2016. She teamed up with Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, and according to Travel & Leisure, they even created a GoFundMe page to get the financial support they needed to compete in the games. They are definitely going to be one to watch!
According to The Guardian, it’s going to be Lindsey Vonn’s last games — although she has already achieved so much.
There will be four new events this year, with one of the most-talked-about being the Big Air, a men and women’s event for snowboarding and freestyle skiing.
And last but not least, the mascot for the 2018 games is a white tiger named Soohorang.