PyeongChang to Host Largest Winter Olympics to Date

by Nicole Quaste

Jan 31, 2018
eFlyer Lead

The 2018 Winter Olympics kicks off Feb. 8 in PyeongChang, where 2,925 athletes from 92 countries and regions are set to gather, marking the largest Winter Games in history.

The 23rd edition of the international games will feature 15 different sports including four new events: big air snowboarding, freestyle skiing, mass start speed skiing and mixed doubles curling.

Athletes will compete in 102 gold medal events, four more than at the 2014 Sochi Games, which saw more than 2,800 athletes from 88 countries and regions.

The Japanese Olympic Committee will send 124 athletes — the country’s largest team ever sent outside the country — and, despite a ban on Russia’s team for state-sponsored doping, 169 athletes from the country are invited as neutral competitors.

Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore will all participate in the Winter Games for the first time.

In a surprising move, North and South Korea announced a joint cultural performance during the opening ceremony and a combined women’s hockey team. However, on Jan. 9, North Korea canceled the opening performance, accusing southern media of encouraging public “insulting” sentiment. The initial agreements raised hopes of improved ties between the two Koreas following years of tension, but the recent news is an unfortunate setback.

Located about 80 miles east of Seoul and 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, PyeongChang is a beautiful county in the Gangwon Province, home to the Taebaek Mountains, Odaesan National Park, renowned Buddhist temples and major ski resorts.

PyeongChang beat out top bids from Munich and Annecy to host this year’s Winter Games, marking the second Olympic games held in South Korea, following the 1988 Summer Olympics. The next Winter Games will move to Beijing in 2022; Beijing last hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008. The next Summer Games will be in Tokyo in 2020, followed by Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.

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