5 Things to Know About The 2018 Winter Olympics
North Korea offering help, a temporary $58 million stadium and so much more.
This February, from the 9th to the 25th, the Winter Olympics will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea—featuring an array of the best snowsports athletes on Earth going head to head for global glory. You’ve probably been reading up on the events and getting the low-down on what’s to come. But have you heard about the five topics below?
The Olympic flame arrived in South Korea on November 1st to begin its 100-day journey to the opening ceromony for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. Photo courtesy of International Olympic Committee.
1. What goes up must (apparently) come down.
Olympic organizers have completed a $58 million pentagon-shaped stadium, intended mainly for the opening and closing ceremonies with a 35,000-person capacity. What the venue doesn’t have, interestingly enough, is a roof. Critics worry that spectators will be too cold, but organizers say they plan to provide blankets to resolve that issue, paired with spectator participation to keep the blood flowing. Another big talking point: This stadium is temporary and will be torn down after the Games—never to be shivered in again.
2. Location, location, location.
Interestingly enough, Pyeongchang is actually a county, and not a city. All of the other Winter Olympics to date have been named after a specific city, but not this time around. Furthermore, the Games are being marketed with alternate CamelCase spelling, “PyeongChang,” to prevent any confusion with PyongYang, the capital of neighboring North Korea.
Photo courtesy of International Olympic Committee.
3. Third time’s the charm.
Hosting the Olympics was not a spur-of-the-moment dream for South Korea, by any means. In fact, the nation has been gunning for the top spot since the early 2000s or even before—beat out by Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014. This time around, South Korea was up against Munich, Germany and Annecy, France in the final round and, ultimately came out on top. It’s only the second Asian nation to host the Winter Olympics, alongside Japan.
4. Neighbors to the North.
Believe it or not, there was discussion over the summer about Masikryong, a North Korean ski resort, hosting various events for the 2018 Olympic Games. Pyeongchang is only about 40 miles from the Korean Demilitarized Zone, so this idea didn’t seem very out of reach, geographically. But, for a multitude of reasons—including strong apprehension from the United States—these ambitious plans didn’t come to fruition.
5. Not the first rodeo.
There’s been some talk throughout the snowsports community about whether or not South Korea is fit to host top-notch winter competitions. But naysayers should know the headlining ski resort for the Games, Yongpyong, has pulled off a variety of major events in the past, including World Cup ski races in 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2006. Not to mention, the test events last winter reportedly went very smooth. And, while the resort has just 28 trails, note that it boasts about 2,500 vertical feet of terrain and 14 lifts.
All photos are courtesy of the International Olympic Committee.