By Alex Long
Pyeongchang, South Korea will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympic games beginning on February 9 and ending February 25. The Winter Olympics began all the way in 1924 where they were first hosted in Chamonix, France. The first games only features twelve events spread across six sports. Of the three hundred athletes, only thirteen were women and they were all figure skaters. Needless to say, the olympics have come a long way to today.
Noteworthy this year is that Russia will not be participating in this year. The decision to bar Russia from the Winter games was made after the alleged state-sponsored cover up of doping up it’s athletes came to light. Although the International Olympic Committee’s reports said that they had not found any evidence that the Kremlin was aware of the coverup, the athletes are not allowed to compete under the nation’s symbols. Some of the Russian athletes will still be able to compete however, just under the neutral Olympic flag.
The International Olympic Committee has added some new events to the games this year. They have added big-air snowboarding, freestyle skiing, mass-start speed skating, and mixed doubles curling. Senior Jared Rezeppa says, “The new events are great, but I would still like to see Synchronized Skating added.” As it would add a cool element to skating that most people haven't seen before. This means that the 2018 Winter Olympics will have one hundred events in seven sports in total.
This year, the medals have been designed by Lee Suk-woo, a South Korean designer. The medals showcase a design based off of tree trunks, and 3D letters from the Korean alphabet. Junior Delaney Smith, an Art 4 AP student says that the medals are, “sleek and cool.” They are a minimalistic design that has never been done before. The mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang and has great value to Korean history and culture as a guardian. According to the Olympic Games website, “Sooho” means protection and symbolizes the protection offered to the athletes and other participants of the games. “Rang” comes from the Korean word for “tiger” and is also the last letter of a traditional folk song from the Gangwon Province, where the games are hosted. The website says, “Soohorang not only has a challenging spirit and passion, but is also a trustworthy friend who protects the athletes, spectators and all the participants of the Olympic Games.” Choosing a mascot with guardianship qualities was important as there are safety concerns regarding the fact that South Korea is so close to North Korea.
Many countries have threatened to withdraw from the games due to the concerns, in response to the threat, South Korea is stepping up their security before the games, and according to ABC News, has already deported at least 17 foreigners who could have posed a terrorist threat to the games. Overall, everyone is excited for a safe, challenging Winter Games.