Eyes turn to South Korea as Winter Olympics begin


The 2018 Winter Olympics are underway. The games, which run February 9-25 are taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea.

This is the second time the Olympics has taken place in South Korea, which hosted the summer Olympic Games in 1988. Predictions for the medal count have Germany in 1st, Norway in 2nd, and the United States in 3rd. The last Winter Olympics was held in Sochi, Russia back in 2014, Germany came out on top by winning the medal count for the 2014 Olympics. The United States Olympic Team is expected to reach approximately 240 athletes in the 2018 Winter olympics.

The 2018 Olympic Committee has added 4 new events for this year: big air snowboarding, freestyle skiing, mass-start speed skating, and mixed doubles curling. The 2018 Winter Olympics features 102 events in 15 sports, making it the first Winter Olympics to surpass 100 medal events. A total of 92 different teams are expected to compete in the Olympics, 6 nations will compete in their first Winter Olympics: Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

Russia’s Olympic team has been banned from competing in the 2018 games due to widespread instances of doping and abuse of banned substances. Any athletes from Russia who receive special privileges to compete after passing an exhaustive screening are doing so as individuals, wearing a neutral uniform, and will be known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” The official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals. The International Olympic Committee review panel declined a request for 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, cleared of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to attend the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

North and South Korea have agreed to march together under the Korean Unification Flag in the opening ceremony and will also compete jointly in women’s ice hockey, in all other sports there will be a separate North Korea team and a separate South Korea team. This was a major controversy as the world prepared for the games. The United States and many other countries are concerned with the instability of North Korea and the safety of the athletes and the fans.

Dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, gathered for the opening ceremonies. The opening ceremony was disrupted by a malware attack on the Olympics Network, both before and during the ceremony leaving attendees unable to print tickets for the event.  

As the first weekend of events has passed, there has been a lot of action going on in the games. To no surprise the leader of the medal count is Germany who has dominated early in the games. Germany has always proven to be a contender when it comes to the Olympics. So far, the USA is ranked 5 in the medal count with three gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals. The first of the golds came from Jamie Anderson in the slopestyle skiing competition. The last two came in snowboarding, one from the mens and another from the women’s. Chloe Kim and Red Gerard  both performed well in each of their snowboarding events.  

For help following the 2018 Olympics with the latest updates and statistics download the TEAM USA app on the app store of your choice.