PyeongChang, Here We Come!
The weather is turning chilly. Flakes of snow have started to fall. Winter celebrations have already begun, and with ski season this year also comes the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Who else is ready for some downhill action?
The Olympic Games were last in South Korea in 1988 in Seoul. As seems to be the case with a few Asian countries I am familiar with, the ability to host both Summer and Winter Games is a great asset and will likely continue to be as hosting rosters become smaller and smaller.
PyeongChang (not to be confused with its northern partner, PyeongYang!) is located southeast of Seoul. Venues are spread out west of the city all the way to the eastern coast at Kwandong University. A nice video showing all the venues can be found at the Games' page on Olympic.org.
|If I were a downhill skier, I'd be pumped about this venue.|
The Olympic torch has already left Greece and traveled to South Korea. It will travel around South Korea until it arrives in PyeongChang in time for the Opening Ceremony on February 9.
Some new sports* (disciplines within existing sports) will be introduced, including big air snowboarding, mixed doubles curling, mass start speed skating, and mixed team alpine skiing.
An interesting note on countries participating: Eritrea, Kosovo, and Malaysia are set to send their first Winter Olympians this year if they decide to participate. The two North Korean figure skaters who have qualified for the Games will be allowed to cross the DMZ in order to participate.
I'll be looking out for a couple big topics to come to the surface of news coverage of these Games. It's a known fact that South Korea's northern neighbor will come into conversations, despite how much South Korea has fought for the spotlight. Security at Olympic Games has always been an issue and will be even more of a challenge as time goes on. Will we see any Russian participants? That is yet to be seen as their status (due to the state-sponsored doping scandal) is still unclear.
I look forward to watching as preparations progress and the Olympics come back into the international spotlight. The Winter Games are not as flashy as the Summer Games but still provide for lots of fun. Curling pants, ski suits, and figure skating dresses- oh my!