With less than 100 days until the 2018 Winter Olympics, things are gearing up and the excitement is building. The Olympic flame is currently making its way around South Korea on a relay of 7,500 torchbearers that will carry the torch via sailboat, zip-wire, steam train, and lastly, a robot into the Olympic Stadium. The theme of the relay, “Let Everyone Shine”, is fitting for an event that aims to bring the countries of the world together.
South Korea has built 6 new venues, for a total 13, to be utilized during the games. The venues are split between two main areas. The PyeongChang Mountain Cluster will accommodate the skiing and sliding events, while the Gangneung Coastal Cluster will host hockey, curling, figure skating, and short track speed skating.
The 2018 games will offer the most events in Winter Olympic history, with 102 medals up for grabs. A record number of mixed events are also set to take place this winter, while four new sports make their debut as well.
In a challenge of epic proportions, snowboarders will drop into a slope, gain speed, and launch themselves into the air – flipping, twisting, and turning before being required to land perfectly, sans face plant. No pressure, right?
This new event is much like traditional long track speed skating, with a couple of main exceptions. Up until now, skaters have competed in pairs. The Mass Start event allows full teams to compete against each other, battling it out for 16 laps to reach the finish.
In curling mixed doubles, also known as coed curling, one man and one woman make up each team. Curling mixed doubles has gained popularity in recent years, and as a result was added to the Olympic events list.
A new take on downhill ski racing, the Alpine Skiing Nations Team Event features four starts in each event. Two female skiers from opposing countries go head-to-head down identical slalom courses, followed by a round of two male skiers. This order repeats once more, with a total of four points up for grabs.
For the first time ever, NBC will be broadcasting the Olympics live in all time zones. This is exciting for sports fans who have previously had to plug their ears, shield their eyes, or possibly even run out of the room to avoid spoilers on the evening news.
Soohorang, a white tiger, and Bandabi, an Asiatic black bear wearing a winter hat, are 2018’s Olympic mascots. In Korean culture, the white tiger is a symbol of trust, strength, and protection, while the black bear stands for strong will and courage.
After a massive scandal following the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was unveiled, revealing a nationwide Russian doping organization, it is still unclear whether the country’s athletes will be allowed to compete in PyeongChang.
The International Olympic Committee has yet to make a decision, as they are still waiting on findings from two commissions. The IOC has said they will release their decision in December 2017, in time for athletes to prepare for the February 2017 games.
As for North Korea, there’s still no word on whether their athletes will be competing this winter. Thus far, a pair of North Korean figure skaters has qualified, and there are a few speed skaters who may qualify before the games begin.
The United States team is expected to be the largest team in PyeongChang, with approximately 245 athletes. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a few familiar faces! Both Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White are hoping to compete in their fourth Olympic games, with both attempting comebacks. Vonn, is recovering from an injury, and White, from an unfortunate 4th place result four years ago in Sochi. Another hopeful, snowboarder Kelly Clark, is gunning to compete in her fifth Olympics.
NHL fans are sure to be dismayed with this news: there will be no NHL players competing in the Winter Olympics. Instead, the USA Olympic hockey team will be composed of free agents, college players, and athletes who typically play for European teams.
The official Olympic countdown clock, developed by Omega, has been revealed! Follow Olympic.org for important news, updates, and information about the upcoming Olympic games.Last updated on Oct 10, 2019
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