Every four years, the world’s top athletes from numerous disciplines congregate to compete in the Winter Olympics. This year is one of those years. Pyeongchang has the honour of hosting the 2018 Olympic games. Located in the Republic of Korea (South Korea), the XXIII games are surrounded by 1.5 million inhabitants of the district of Gangwon. Previously, South Korea hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics in Seoul, their capital city.
With 102 gold medal events, the 17 day games period will be brimming with activity. On February 9th, the Opening Ceremonies took place in the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium; however two events already occurred the day before. Round Robin #1 and Round Robin #2 for Mixed Doubles in Curling began on the 8th, in addition to Ski Jumping Men’s Individual Normal Hill Qualifications. As well, Round Robin #3 and Round Robin #4 for Mixed Doubles in Curling, Figure Skating Men’s Single Short Program Pairs Short Program, and Women's and Men’s Moguls Qualification for Freestyle Skiing predated the Opening Ceremonies. Before the Closing Ceremonies on February 25th, 259 sets of medals will be awarded to athletes. Women’s and Men’s Snowboard Big Air, Women’s and Men’s Speed Skating Mass Start, Curling Mixed Doubles and the Alpine Team Event will all make their Olympic debut in February.
Pyeongchang has altered their Olympic Games to be unique and tied to their culture. It is easy to stay connected with the PyeongChang 2018 Official App that not only has the Olympic Winter Games information, but the Paralympic Winter Games information as well. South Korea was engulfed in the Olympic spirit as the Olympic flame travelled through 17 of its cities and provinces. In addition, Soohorang and the Olympic emblem have become common figures. The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic mascot is based off the white tiger. The emblem is deeply tied with the Korean alphabet, Hangul. The first character represents the gathering place where heaven, earth, and humans, the three elements of Cheon-ji-in, are in harmony. Snow and ice and superior athlete performance are illustrated in the second character. “Where the earth meets the sky, and where athletes excel in snow or on ice” is portrayed in the square emblem.
Being at least 14 hours ahead of Canadian cities, it may be hard for Canadians to show their national pride. The figure skating partners and gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will be Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearers. As always, the Closing Ceremony flag bearers are to be announced. British Columbia is sending 27 of our athletes, ranging from freestyle skiing to luge, including Vancouver’s own Stefan Elliott who is a member of our men’s ice hockey team. The event Canadians consistently treasure being apart of occurs on February 25th in Gangneung Hockey Centre, the Ice Hockey Men's Gold Medal game.
*Information as of February 9, 2018