Places & Faces
Going for Gold
1/5/2018 5:02:57 PM
Olympic Preview

The Olympics are an exciting, much-anticipated event, even if you aren’t typically a sports fan. Athletes from all over the world converge to participate in rigorous competitions and, hopefully, take home the gold medal.

In 2018, the Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Keep reading to discover details about the events, competitors, and more.

About the 2018 Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics are home to sports like figure skating, bobsledding, skiing, hockey, and snowboarding. In total, there are seven major sports at Pyeongchang this year. Many of these sports have variations that permit individuals or teams to participate. Whether you prefer more aggressive sports like hockey or like to watch the couples compete in ice dancing, the Winter Olympics are sure to hold your attention. 

This year, the mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang, taken from Korean folklore and mythology. The tiger is known for being a symbol of protection, trust, and strength – all things the athletes will be happy to have on their side!

Lee Suk-woo designed the medals. Their detailed style is made to mimic the appearance of tree bark. Ridged diagonal lines cross the face of the medals, along with consonants from the Korean alphabet. The wood style is meant to symbolize the work that has gone into both Korean culture and the Games themselves. Of the three medal places, the gold medal is the heaviest this year, weighing 586 grams.

The News: What to Watch for This Year

The Olympics take place February 8 - 25, but there are several stories that have made headlines in the past few months about the competition. For example . . . 

The Nigerian Bobsled Team
This team of three young women has made the news because they aim to be the first-ever African representatives for the sport of bobsled, and the first representatives of Nigeria at the Winter Olympics. They began their training in Houston, Texas, without funds or the proper gear. When they decided to go for the Olympics, they began crowd-funding for the things they needed. Since then, they’ve captured hearts and attention with their winning attitudes and enthusiasm. (At the time of this writing, the team was in the process of qualifying to compete in Pyeongchang.)

Russia Suspended
After it came to light that there was manipulation of the Olympic anti-doping rules and system by the Russian state, the International Olympic Committee suspended Russia from participating in the 2018 Olympic Games. Individual athletes will be allowed to participate after undergoing strict scrutiny, but they will compete under the Olympic Flag. This could cause some upsets in a few different sports where the Russians have historically won medals, such as hockey, figure skating, and others. This might leave the USA as the favorite to win some of these, depending on which Russian athletes are permitted to compete.

Security Concerns
The current political unrest with North Korea has left many feeling uneasy about the security of having Olympic Games in South Korea this year. A few countries – including France and the USA – have commented their uncertainty about sending competitors to an unsafe environment. As of the writing of this article, no nations had withdrawn for security concerns.

New Sports

There are a few new sports added to the docket at the 2018 Games. They are:
  • Big air snowboarding
  • Freestyle skiing
  • Mass start speed skating
  • Mixed doubles curling
The goal of adding these new events is to attract a younger audience, make the sports appealing for television, and increase gender equality in the sports. The addition of these new events raises the total number of gold medals up for grabs to 102, the most of any Olympic Winter Games.

This year’s Olympic Games promise to be exciting! Check out more information and schedules on the official website, www.olympic.org.
Posted by: Keaghan P. Wier | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Sports

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