Your guide to the 2018 Winter Olympics
Check out what South Korea has to offer
By Dan Khavkin, Sports Editor
The 2018 Winter Olympics have begun in PyeongChang, South Korea on Feb. 8 and will run until Feb. 25 but not without controversy, a common theme in the last few Olympiads.
South Korea is hosting its second Olympic Games as the Asian nation also hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul but this time around, politics, sports’ greatest enemy, has already plagued the Games without a medal handed out.
Controversy has been following the last few Olympics as Rio in 2016 and Russia in 2014 have both been scrutinized for health and safety reasons, but South Korea is taking in a lot of politics into its games.
South and North Korea marched together under the Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony. A Unified Korea women’s ice hockey team is also competing under a separate IOC country code designation (COR); in all other sports, there is a separate North Korea team and a separate South Korea team.
South Korean citizens have heckled the North Korean athletes when they arrived at airports.
Russia, again, are in the middle of the trouble among recent doping allegations. The IOC decided to ban Russian athletes to participate under their flag. Instead, the IOC invited only “clean” athletes to compete under a neutral flag.
Olympic Athletes from Russia as the IOC dubbed them, are what the 168 participants will be representing themselves as.
Out of 102 events across 15 sport disciplines, there are four new sports featured. Mixed curling, big air snowboarding, mixed alpine skiing and mass start speed skating are all making their debuts in the Games.
Mixed curling is exactly what it sounds like, one man and one woman make up a team and compete against other teams. Canada took home the gold Feb. 13.
In big air, riders do get an impressive amount of air when going off the massive kickers used in these contests. But it’s not so much the amplitude and distance that riders are being evaluated on here. In the end, it comes down to using that air time to execute your best tricks.
This contests emphasize consistency, variety and versatility as big air contests are an opportunity to just show off, but just on one single jump.
Mixed alpine skiing consists of a team, a man and woman. Teams will face off in parallel slalom races against each other, meaning there will be two skiers racing each other simultaneously side-by-side. The skier who crosses the finish line first is declared the winner. If one or both competitors fall, the skier who made it further down is declared the winner.
Mass start speed skating consists of a 16-lap race where all skaters start simultaneously. It includes four sprints where points are awarded. The first three athletes to cross the finish line end up on the podium. All other skaters are ranked based on points given out for the four sprints.
The 2018 Olympics marks the events first time the winter Games would be surpassing 100 medals in total.
Out of the 95 teams that have qualified, Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore are all being featured in the Winter Games for the first time in their country’s history.
Marquee events also include hockey which will be without NHL players for the first time since the 1998 games, giving the smaller names a big opportunity to achieve a childhood dream, along with: luge, bobsleigh, figure skating, ski jump, biathlon and many more.
Be sure to check the web and watch prime-time TV as there is a 16 hour time-gap between us in Calgary and South Korea.