The PyeongChang Winter Olympics include this year new changes in sports and a political approach between North and South Korea.
The 23rd Winter Olympics will be held from February 9th to 25th in PyeongChang, South Korea. This is the second time that the city organizes the Olympics, 30 years later after the Seoul Olympics celebrated in 1988.
Over 3000 athletes from a hundred different countries will compete in the 15 tests for the medal. Among this year’s sports events there are different Ski styles that will feature (alpine, Nordic cross-country), modalities of sledding (bobsled, luge, skeleton), ice-skating and ice-hockey, ski-jumping, snowboarding, curling…
The 2018 PyeongChang’s mascot is Soohorang, a white tiger. This is animal is traditional in Korean culture and mythology and is a symbol of strength, protection and trust.
Sport disciplines can change from one edition to another within the Olympics, depending on the popularity of the sport. It is the International Olympic Committee’s decision, the institution in charge of organizing the Olympic Games worldwide.
The IOC has introduced this year 4 new sports. On the one hand, there is Freestyle ski or Big-air Snowboarding”, which allows for the most spectacular acrobatics and tricks ever. On the other hand, the “curling” discipline will include mixed double pairs and team speed skating
The Winter Olympics are like those celebrated in Summer, but with sports that need a cold environment and space to practice.
The first Winter Olympics games took place in Chamonix (France) in 1924. In fact, the IOC only wanted to organize an “International Winter sports week”, but it turned out to be so successful that they decided to do them every 4 years, just like the Summer Olympic Games.
The Summer and the Winter Olympics used to be held in the same year up until 1992, but then the IOC decided to organize both events alternating one every 2 years. So we don’t have to wait too long for the next Olympics to come!
A chance two Koreas
This year’s games will stand out for the fact that athletes of both South and North Korea will parade together. This is important news since both countries have been in conflict for as long as 70 years
Also, both Koreas will be sending a Women’s ice-hockey team together as one. This is the first time after almost 30 years that North and South-Korean athletes are competing together, since the World Table Tennis Championship in 1991.
North and South Korea had already paraded together, along with the Korean Peninsula Unification flag, in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens as well as in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.
However, lately, relationship between Seoul and Pyongyang had gotten worse due to the ongoing threats made by the North-Korean government. After a year of tension and negotiations, this initiative is a first step towards dialog and reconciliation.
Here, one more example of the power of sports to get people together and change the world.