2018 Winter Olympics

This page was last edited on 24 February 2018, at 05:52.

The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games (Korean: 제23회 동계 올림픽, translit. Jeisipsamhoe Donggye Ollimpik), officially stylized and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018, is an international winter multi-sport event currently being held from 9 to 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon Province, South Korea, with the opening rounds for certain events held on the eve of the opening ceremony—8 February 2018. Pyeongchang was elected as the host in July 2011, during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa. It marks the first time South Korea has hosted the Winter Olympics, and the second Olympics in the country overall after the 1988 Summer Olympics in the nation's capital, Seoul. It also marks the third time East Asia has hosted the Winter Games, after Sapporo, Japan (1972), and Nagano, Japan (1998), and the sixth overall Olympic Games held in East Asia. It is the first of three consecutive Olympic Games scheduled to be held in East Asia, preceding Tokyo 2020 (Summer) and Beijing 2022 (Winter).

The games feature 102 events in fifteen sports, with the addition of "big air" snowboarding, mass start speed skating, mixed doubles curling, and mixed team alpine skiing to the Winter Olympic programme. 2,914 athletes from 92 National Olympic Committees are expected to compete, including the debuts of Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

The lead-up to these Games was affected by the ongoing tensions between South Korea and North Korea, and the ongoing 2017–18 missile crisis. These led to security concerns, with several countries threatening to skip the games if their safety was not ensured. In January 2018, after their first high-level talks in over two years, North Korea agreed to participate in the Games along with South Korea. The countries also agreed to march together, as a united "Korea", during the opening ceremony, and to field a unified women's ice hockey team.

XXIII Olympic Winter Games
PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics
Host city Pyeongchang County, South Korea
Motto Passion. Connected.
Korean: 하나된 열정. (Hanadoen Yeoljeong)
Nations participating 92
Athletes participating 2,922 (1,680 men and 1,242 women)
Events 102 in 15 sports
Opening ceremony 9 February
Closing ceremony 25 February
Officially opened by President Moon Jae-in
Athlete's Oath Mo Tae-bum[1]
Olympic Torch Yuna Kim[2]
Stadium Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium
Sochi 2014 Beijing 2022  >
Rio 2016 Tokyo 2020  >
Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Hangul 평창 동계 올림픽
Hanja 平昌 冬季 올림픽
Revised Romanization Pyeongchang Donggye Ollimpik
McCune–Reischauer P'yŏngch'ang Tonggye Ollimp'ik
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Hangul 제23회 동계 올림픽
Hanja 第二十三回 冬季 올림픽
Revised Romanization Jeisipsamhoe Donggye Ollimpik
McCune–Reischauer Cheisipsamhoe Tonggye Ollimp'ik

Bidding and election

Pyeongchang bid to host both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, but lost in the final rounds of voting to Vancouver and Sochi respectively.[3]

Munich also launched a bid to host these Games. Prior to Beijing's successful 2022 Winter Olympics bid, Munich would have become the first city to host both the Winter and the Summer Games, having previously hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics, but received only 25 votes. Annecy (in southeastern France) launched their own bid, which failed to secure public support from the local citizens. Their bid ended up receiving seven votes.[4]

Pyeongchang was elected as the host city at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban in 2011, earning the necessary majority of at least 48 votes in just one round of voting, more votes than its competitors combined. With this, Pyeongchang became the third Asian city to host the Winter Games; the first two were in Japan, at Sapporo (1972) and Nagano (1998).[5][6]

2018 Winter Olympics bidding results
City Nation Votes
Pyeongchang  South Korea 63
Munich  Germany 25
Annecy  France 7

Development and preparation

Pyeongchang is located in South Korea
Location in South Korea

On 5 August 2011, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the formation of the Pyeongchang 2018 Coordination Commission.[7][8] On 4 October 2011, it was announced that the Organizing Committee for the 2018 Winter Olympics would be headed by Kim Jin-sun. The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) was launched at its inaugural assembly on 19 October 2011. The first tasks of the organizing committee were putting together a master plan for the games as well as forming a design for the venues.[9] The IOC Coordination Commission for the 2018 Winter Olympics made their first visit to Pyeongchang in March 2012. By then, construction was already underway on the Olympic Village.[10][11] In June 2012, construction began on a high-speed rail line that is to connect Pyeongchang to Seoul.[12]

The International Paralympic Committee met for an orientation with the Pyeongchang 2018 organizing committee in July 2012.[13] Then-IOC President Jacques Rogge visited Pyeongchang for the first time in February 2013.[14]

The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games created Pyeongchang WINNERS in 2014 by recruiting university students living in South Korea to spread awareness of the Olympic Games through social networking services and news articles.[15]


The Games' medal designs were unveiled on 21 September 2017. Designed by Lee Suk-woo, they feature a pattern of diagonal ridges on both sides, with the front including the Olympic rings, and their obverse featuring the Games' emblem and the event name and discipline. The edge of the medals feature extrusions of hangul characters, while the ribbons are made from a traditional South Korean textile.[16]

Torch relay

2018 Winter Olympic %26 Paralympic Torch,NMKCH
2018 Winter Olympics torch

The torch relay started on 24 October 2017 in Greece and ended at the start of the Olympics on 9 February 2018. On 1 November 2017 the relay entered Korea. The relay lasted 101 days. There were 7,500 torch bearers to represent the Korean population of 75 million people. There were also 2,018 support runners to guard the torch and act as messengers.

The torch and its bearers traveled by a diverse means of transportation, including by turtle ship in Hansando Island, sailboat on the Baengmagang River in Buyeo, marine cable car in Yeosu, zip-wire over Bamseom Island, steam train in the Gokseong Train Village, marine rail bike along the east coast in Samcheok, and by yacht in Busan Metropolitan City.

There were also robot torch relays in Jeju and Daejeon.[17]


2018 Olympics main locations in Gangwon
Olympic venues 2018
Winter 2014 Candidate City- PyeongChang Dragon Valley ski resort
Dragon Valley Ski Resort

The Olympic events are held in the county of Pyeongchang, except for the ice events, which take place in the neighboring city of Gangneung, and downhill, super-G and combined, which take place in the neighboring county of Jeongseon.

Pyeongchang (mountain cluster)

The Alpensia Resort in Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang, is the focus of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.[18][19]

Stand-alone venues

Gangneung (coastal cluster)

The coastal cluster is located in Pyeongchang's neighboring city of Gangneung. The Gangneung Olympic Park includes the following four venues:

In addition, a stand-alone venue is located on the grounds of Catholic Kwandong University:


Ticket prices for the 2018 Winter Olympics were announced in April 2016 and went on sale in October 2016, ranging from 20,000 (approximately US$17) to ₩900,000 (US$776). Tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies range from ₩220,000 (US$190) to ₩1.5 million (US$1293). The exact prices were determined through market research; around 50% of the tickets are expected to cost about ₩80,000 (US$69) or less, and tickets in sports that are relatively unknown in the region, such as biathlon and luge, are made cheaper in order to encourage attendance. By contrast, figure skating and the men's hockey gold-medal game carry the most expensive tickets of the Games.[21]

As of 11 October 2017, domestic ticket sales for the Games were reported to be slow. Of the 750,000 seats allocated to South Koreans, only 20.7% had been sold. International sales have been better, with 59.7% of the 320,000 allocated tickets sold.[22][23] However, as of 31 January 2018, 77% of all tickets have been sold.[24]

The Games

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was held at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on 9 February 2018; the US$100 million facility is only used for the ceremonies of these Olympics and Paralympics, and is slated to be demolished following their conclusion.[25]


The 2018 Winter Olympics features 102 events in 15 sports,[26] making it the first Winter Olympics to surpass 100 medal events. Six new events in existing sports were introduced to the Winter Olympic program in Pyeongchang, including men's and ladies' big air snowboarding, mixed doubles curling, men's and ladies' mass start speed skating, and mixed team alpine skiing.[27][26]

For the first time since 1998, the National Hockey League didn't provide accommodations (including a break in the season for all teams during the Olympics) to allow its players to participate in the men's ice hockey tournament. The NHL's decision stemmed from their demands that the IOC cover the cost of insuring the NHL players who participate in the Games. Although it did pay to insure NHL players in Sochi, the IOC was unwilling to do so for Pyeongchang, and was concerned that the NHL's demand could set a precedent for other professional sports bodies to follow. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman added that a factor in the decision was that the IOC did not allow the NHL to promote the involvement of its players in the Olympics.[28][29][30] The NHL secured the cooperation of the International Ice Hockey Federation and the IOC, who agreed to establish a blacklist forbidding national teams from nominating or accepting players under NHL contract to their Olympic rosters.[31][32]

Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of medal events contested in each sport.

Participating National Olympic Committees

A total of 95 teams have qualified at least one athlete so far, with 92 of them expected to compete. Six nations are scheduled to make their Winter Olympics debut: Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.[33][34]

Athletes from the Cayman Islands, Dominica and Peru qualified to compete, but all three National Olympic Committees returned the quota spots back to the International Ski Federation (FIS).[35]

Under an agreement with North Korea, its qualified athletes are allowed to cross the Korean Demilitarized Zone into South Korea and compete in the games.[36][37][38] The two nations marched together under the Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony.[39][40] A Unified Korea women's ice hockey team is also competing under a separate IOC country code designation (COR); in all other sports, there is a separate North Korea team and a separate South Korea team.[41] See North Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics for further details.

On 5 December 2017, the IOC announced that the Russian Olympic Committee had been suspended due to the Russian doping controversy. Individual athletes who qualified and could demonstrate they had complied with the IOC's doping regulations instead competed as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR) under the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem played in any ceremony.[42]

2018 Winter Olympics Participants
  The participating countries at the Winter Olympics 2018
  Debuting countries at the Winter Olympics
Participating National Olympic Committees[43][44][45][46][47][48]
NOCs that participated in 2014, but are not in 2018. NOCs that are participating in 2018, but did not in 2014.

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committee

IOC Code Country Athletes
USA  United States 242
CAN  Canada 225
SUI  Switzerland 169
OAR  Olympic Athletes from Russia[b] 168
GER  Germany 156
JPN  Japan 124
ITA  Italy 122
KOR  South Korea[a] 122
SWE  Sweden 116
NOR  Norway 109
FRA  France 107
FIN  Finland 106
AUT  Austria 105
CZE  Czech Republic 95
CHN  China 81
SLO  Slovenia 71
POL  Poland 62
GBR  Great Britain 58
SVK  Slovakia 56
AUS  Australia 51
KAZ  Kazakhstan 46
COR  Korea[a] 35
LAT  Latvia 34
NED  Netherlands 33
BLR  Belarus 33
UKR  Ukraine 33
ROU  Romania 27
EST  Estonia 22
BEL  Belgium 22
BUL  Bulgaria 21
NZL  New Zealand 21
CRO  Croatia 19
HUN  Hungary 19
DEN  Denmark 17
ESP  Spain 13
ISR  Israel 10
PRK  North Korea[a] 10
BRA  Brazil 9
LTU  Lithuania 9
TUR  Turkey 8
CHI  Chile 7
ARG  Argentina 7
AND  Andorra 5
ISL  Iceland 5
IRL  Ireland 5
BIH  Bosnia and Herzegovina 4
COL  Colombia 4
GEO  Georgia 4
GRE  Greece 4
IRI  Iran 4
MEX  Mexico 4
MON  Monaco 4
SRB  Serbia 4
TPE  Chinese Taipei 4
THA  Thailand 4
ARM  Armenia 3
JAM  Jamaica 3
LBN  Lebanon 3
LIE  Liechtenstein 3
MKD  Macedonia 3
MNE  Montenegro 3
NGR  Nigeria 3
ALB  Albania 2
BOL  Bolivia 2
IND  India 2
KGZ  Kyrgyzstan 2
MAS  Malaysia 2
MDA  Moldova 2
MGL  Mongolia 2
MAR  Morocco 2
PAK  Pakistan 2
PHI  Philippines 2
POR  Portugal 2
UZB  Uzbekistan 2
AZE  Azerbaijan 1
BER  Bermuda 1
CYP  Cyprus 1
ECU  Ecuador 1
ERI  Eritrea 1
GHA  Ghana 1
HKG  Hong Kong 1
KEN  Kenya 1
KOS  Kosovo 1
LUX  Luxembourg 1
MAD  Madagascar 1
MLT  Malta 1
PUR  Puerto Rico 1
SMR  San Marino 1
SGP  Singapore 1
RSA  South Africa 1
TLS  East Timor 1
TGA  Tonga 1
TOG  Togo 1
  1. a A unified Korean team consisting of players from both North Korea and South Korea is competing in the women's ice hockey tournament following talks in Panmunjom on 17 January 2018. Of the 35 players on the team, 12 are from North Korea and 23 are from South Korea.[49]
  2. b Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, but following the doping controversy the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended with an option for Russian athletes to participate as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) if cleared by the IOC commission.

Event scheduling

To accommodate primetime broadcasts in the Americas, figure skating events were scheduled with morning start times; figure skating in particular has typically been one of the most popular Winter Olympic events among American/Latin American viewers. This scheduling practice has had an impact on the events themselves, including skaters having to adjust to the modified schedule, as well as the attendance levels of the sessions themselves.[50]

Controversially, eight of the eleven biathlon events were scheduled at night, making it necessary for biathletes to compete under difficult conditions for those events, such as skiing and shooting under floodlights, colder temperatures, and blustery winds.[51]


All dates are KST (UTC+9)
OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Event finals EG Exhibition gala CC Closing ceremony
Sport Date (February 2018) Total
Olympic Rings Icon.svg Ceremonies OC CC N/A
Alpine skiing pictogram.svg Alpine skiing 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 11
Biathlon pictogram.svg Biathlon 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 11
Bobsleigh pictogram.svg Bobsleigh 1 1 1 3
Cross country skiing pictogram.svg Cross-country skiing 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 12
Curling pictogram.svg Curling 1 1 1 3
Figure skating pictogram.svg Figure skating 1 1 1 1 1 EG 5
Freestyle skiing pictogram.svg Freestyle skiing 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 10
Ice hockey pictogram.svg Ice hockey 1 1 2
Luge pictogram.svg Luge 1 1 1 1 4
Nordic combined pictogram.svg Nordic combined 1 1 1 3
Short track speed skating pictogram.svg Short track speed skating 1 1 2 1 3 8
Skeleton pictogram.svg Skeleton 1 1 2
Ski jumping pictogram.svg Ski jumping 1 1 1 1 4
Snowboarding pictogram.svg Snowboarding 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 10
Speed skating pictogram.svg Speed skating 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 14
Total event finals 0 0 5 6 7 8 4 9 7 9 6 3 5 7 10 4 8 4 102
Total event finals to date 0 0 5 11 18 26 30 39 46 55 61 64 69 76 86 90 98 102

Medal table

     Host nation (South Korea)[52]

Rank NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Norway (NOR) 13 14 11 38
2  Germany (GER) 13 8 7 28
3  Canada (CAN) 11 8 9 28
4  United States (USA) 9 8 6 23
5  Netherlands (NED) 8 6 4 18
6  Sweden (SWE) 6 6 0 12
7  Switzerland (SUI) 5 6 4 15
8  France (FRA) 5 4 6 15
9  Austria (AUT) 5 3 6 14
10  South Korea (KOR) 4 5 4 13
11  Japan (JPN) 3 5 3 11
12  Italy (ITA) 3 2 5 10
13  Czech Republic (CZE) 2 2 3 7
14  Belarus (BLR) 2 1 0 3
15  Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) 1 6 9 16
16  China (CHN) 1 6 2 9
17  Slovakia (SVK) 1 2 0 3
18  Finland (FIN) 1 0 4 5
 Great Britain (GBR) 1 0 4 5
20  Poland (POL) 1 0 1 2
21  Hungary (HUN) 1 0 0 1
 Ukraine (UKR) 1 0 0 1
23  Australia (AUS) 0 2 1 3
24  Slovenia (SLO) 0 1 1 2
25  Spain (ESP) 0 0 2 2
 New Zealand (NZL) 0 0 2 2
27  Kazakhstan (KAZ) 0 0 1 1
 Latvia (LAT) 0 0 1 1
 Liechtenstein (LIE) 0 0 1 1
Total (29 NOCs) 97 95 97 289

Podium sweeps

Three podium sweeps were recorded during the Games.

Date Sport Event NOC Gold Silver Bronze Ref
10 February Speed skating Women's 3000 metres  Netherlands Carlijn Achtereekte Ireen Wüst Antoinette de Jong [53]
11 February Cross-country skiing Men's 30 km skiathlon  Norway Simen Hegstad Krüger Martin Johnsrud Sundby Hans Christer Holund [54]
20 February Nordic combined Individual large hill/10 km  Germany Johannes Rydzek Fabian Rießle Eric Frenzel [55]


  • On 8 February, the day before the opening of the Games, Noriaki Kasai of Japan took part in the ski jumping qualification. In doing so he became the first athlete in history to participate in eight Winter Olympics.[56] The record was previously held by the Russian luger Albert Demchenko, who had participated seven times.
  • On 16 February, Nathan Chen became the first figure skater to land five quadruple jumps in one program.[57]
  • On 19 February, Germany and Canada tied for gold in the two-man bobsled event. This was the second time in history that two countries had tied for a gold medal in this particular event, the first time being in the 1998 Winter Olympics twenty years earlier.[58]
  • On 20 February, a new ISU best combined total score was set in ice dance by Canadian figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
  • Ireen Wüst became the first speed skater, male or female, to win ten Olympic medals - and the first to win eleven as well - and the first female Winter Olympian to win nine individual medals. She also won an individual gold medal for the 4th Olympics in a row, the first time this was achieved by a Winter Olympian.[59]
  • Sven Kramer became the only male speed skater to win the same Olympic event three times. He also became the first man to win eight Olympic medals in speed skating.[60]
  • Norway surpassed the previous record of most number of medals won at a single olympics. The USA - who won 37 medals in Vancouver in 2010 - held the previous record and were surpassed by Norway when Norway won bronze in the Alpine skiing team event on 24 February, their 38th medal.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on 25 February 2018.


Broadcast rights to the 2018 Winter Olympics in some countries were already sold as part of long-term broadcast rights deals, including the Games' local rightsholder SBS—which had extended its rights to the Olympics through 2024 in July 2011.[61] SBS has sub-licensed its rights to MBC and KBS.[62]

On 29 June 2015, the IOC announced that Discovery Communications had acquired exclusive rights to the Olympics across Europe, from 2018 through 2024 on all platforms. Discovery's rights deal will, initially, not cover France due to pre-existing rights deals with France Télévisions that run through the 2020 Games, and does not cover Russia due to a pre-existing rights deal through 2024 by the marketing agency Telesport.[63] Unlike previous pan-European deals, such as with the European Broadcasting Union and Sportfive (who only served as a reseller of the rights to local broadcasters), Discovery broadcasts its coverage across its pan-European Eurosport networks and other local properties.[64] Discovery has committed to sub-license at least 100 hours of coverage to free-to-air networks in each market.[65][66][67] Some of these agreements do call for certain sports to be exclusive to Eurosport and its affiliated networks.[64] In some markets, the FTA rights are held by Discovery-owned channels, such as DMAX in Spain,[68] Kanal 5 in Sweden and TVNorge in Norway.[69] In the United Kingdom, Discovery holds exclusive pay television rights under license from the BBC; in return, the BBC will sub-license the free-to-air rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympics from Discovery.[70]

Despite the Russian team being formally banned from competing under its flag in Pyeongchang, Russian state broadcaster Channel One, and sports channel Match TV, still committed to covering the Games with a focus on Russian athletes.[63]

In the United States, the Games once again are broadcast by NBCUniversal properties under a long-term contract; it is NBC's first Olympics without long-time primary host Bob Costas, who announced on 7 February 2017 his retirement from the role in favour of Mike Tirico.[71][72] On 28 March 2017, NBC also said that it would air most primetime coverage simultaneously in all time zones in the United States, and not broadcast on a tape delay as they had in past Olympics (although as per prior practice, the ceremonies were still delayed to primetime for the U.S. audience, but the network did reverse its previous practice of not streaming the opening ceremony live online). U.S. Eastern Time is 14 hours behind Pyeongchang, which allows certain events to be broadcast live in the U.S. primetime hours.[73][74]

NHK and Olympic Broadcasting Services once again filmed portions of the Games, including 90 hours of footage of selected events and the opening ceremonies, in high-dynamic-range 8K resolution video.[75][76] In South Korea, ATSC 3.0 terrestrial broadcasts at 4K resolution were introduced in 2017 in time for the Olympics.[77][78] In the U.S., this footage is being delivered in 4K by NBCUniversal parent Comcast to participating television providers, including its own Xfinity and some over-the-air test coverage in the format on Raleigh, North Carolina NBC affiliate WRAL-EX (an experimental station using the future ATSC 3.0 standard), as well as DirecTV and Dish Network.[79][80][81]



Gold medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics in in Pyeongchang
Gold medal of the 2018 Olympics

The emblem for the Games was unveiled on 3 May 2013. It is a stylized representation of the hangul letters p and ch, being the initial sounds of 평창 Pyeongchang. The left symbol is said to represent the Korean philosophical triad of heaven, earth and humanity (Korean: 천지인 cheon-ji-in), and the right symbol a crystal of ice.[82]

The name of the host city has been intentionally written in CamelCase as "PyeongChang", rather than "Pyeongchang", in all official materials. This is to alleviate potential confusion with Pyongyang, the similarly-named capital of neighbouring North Korea.[83]

The official pictograms for 24 sports across 15 disciplines were revealed in January 2017 and are designed using the Korean alphabet as inspiration.[84]


The official mascots for the Games, Soohorang (수호랑), a white tiger, and Bandabi (반다비), an Asiatic black bear, were unveiled on 2 June 2016.[85][86]

Video games

In June 2017, Ubisoft announced that it would release an expansion pack for its winter sports video game Steep entitled Road to the Olympics, which features new game modes and content inspired by the 2018 Winter Olympics.[87][88]

In November 2017, the IOC announced it would support and sponsor an Intel Extreme Masters StarCraft II tournament in Pyeongchang preceding the Games. Its support of the tournament as a de facto demonstration event came on the heels of a report by the IOC which recognized that eSports "could be considered as a sporting activity".[89][90][91] The tournament was won by Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn of Canada; she became the second North American pro to place first at a major StarCraft II tournament in South Korea, and the first woman to win a major tournament.[92][93]

Showcase of technical innovations

The 2018 Winter Olympics showcases a number of technical innovations supported by South Korean giant Samsung, country's largest telecom company KT, and Intel.


Although 5G is planned to be commercially available world-wide by 2020, South Korea, with the technical support from Samsung, KT, and Intel has successfully launched 5G in 2018 Winter Olympics for the visitors[94]. It has showed off the capabilities of its enormous mobile bandwidth of 5G by offering such delights as transcendent live streaming and unsurpassed live VR experiences to visitors. It is offering four advanced visual technologies — sync view, interactive time slice, omni-point view and 360-degree virtual reality live broadcasting.[95]

Samsung SmartSuit

South Korean industrial-technology firm Samsung will be equipping two Dutch speed skaters with suits peppered with sensors to feed back live body position data to their coaches. Smartphone software will then analyse their racing posture and suggest improvements that the coaches can relay via predefined buzz signals to a band on the athlete’s wrist.[96]

Flying LED drones

More than 1,200 drones were on display at the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The drone performance was put on by Intel, which has been delivering similarly impressive drone-based light performances over the last few years. The drones themselves were just a foot long and weighed eight ounces, but thanks to Intel’s Shooting Star service, which controls the drones in unison, more than a thousand can take to the sky to create visual experiences. [97]

Concerns and controversies

North Korean relations

Protesters criticizing Moon Jae-in at Gwanghwamun Plaza
Protesters at Gwanghwamun Plaza criticizing the game's pro-North Korean measures, calling it the “Pyongyang Olympics”

Due to the state of relations between North and South Korea, concerns were raised over the security of the 2018 Winter Olympics, especially in the wake of tensions over North Korean missile and nuclear tests. On 20 September 2017, South Korean president Moon Jae-in stated that the country would ensure the security of the Games.[98] The next day, Laura Flessel-Colovic, the French Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, stated that France would pull out of the Games if the safety of its delegation couldn't be guaranteed.[99]

The next day, Austria and Germany raised similar concerns and also threatened to skip the Games. France later reaffirmed its participation.[100] In early December 2017, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told Fox News that it was an "open question" whether the United States was going to participate in the games, citing security concerns in the region.[101] However, days later the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, stated that the United States would participate.[102]

In his New Year's address on 1 January 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un proposed talks in Seoul over the country's participation in the Games, which would be the first high-level talks between the North and South in over two years. Because of the talks, held on 9 January, North Korea agreed to field athletes in Pyeongchang.[103][104] On 17 January 2018, it was announced that North and South Korea had agreed to field a unified Korean women's ice hockey team at the Games, and to enter together under a Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony.[105][106]

These moves were met with opposition in South Korea, including protests and online petitions; critics argued that the government was attempting to use the Olympics to spread pro–North Korean sentiment, and that the unified hockey team would fail.[107] A rap video entitled "The Regret for Pyeongchang" (평창유감), which echoed this criticism and called the event the "Pyongyang Olympics", went viral in the country.[108] Japan's foreign affairs minister Tarō Kōno warned South Korea to be wary of North Korea's "charm offensive", and not to ease its pressure on the country.[105][109]

The South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, at the start of the Olympics shook hands with the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a prominent figure of the regime, Kim Yo-jong. This marked the first time since the Korean War that a member of the ruling Kim dynasty had visited South Korea.[110][111] In contrast, US Vice President Mike Pence met North Korean defectors in PyeongChang joined by Fred Warmbier, whose son Otto died the year before after being released from North Korean captivity.[112] American officials said that North Korea cancelled a meeting with Pence at the last minute.[113]

Russian doping


Russia's participation in the Winter Olympics was affected by the aftermath of its state-sponsored doping program. As a result the International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee. Russian athletes whitelisted by the IOC were allowed to compete neutrally in Pyeongchang, but they are not allowed to compete under the Russian flag.

Official sanctions

Olympic Athlete from Russia logo 2018
Approved OAR logo

On 5 December 2017, the IOC announced that the Russian Olympic Committee had been suspended effective immediately from the 2018 Winter Olympics. Athletes who had no previous drug violations and a consistent history of drug testing were to be allowed to compete under the Olympic Flag as an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).[114] Under the terms of the decree, Russian government officials were barred from the Games, and neither the country's flag nor anthem would be present. The Olympic Flag and Olympic Anthem are scheduled to be used instead, and on 20 December 2017 the IOC proposed an alternate logo for the uniforms (seen at right).[115] IOC President Thomas Bach said that "after following due process [the IOC] has issued proportional sanctions for this systematic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes".[116]

By early January 2018, the IOC had sanctioned 43 Russian athletes from the 2014 Winter Olympics and banned them from competing in the 2018 edition and all other future Olympic Games as part of the Oswald Commission. All but one of these athletes appealed against their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The court overturned the sanctions on 28 athletes meaning that their Sochi medals and results are reinstated but decided that there was sufficient evidence against 11 athletes to uphold their Sochi sanctions. The IOC said in a statement that "the result of the CAS decision does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited to the Games. Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation" and that "this [case] may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping". The IOC said "that the CAS decision does not mean that these 28 athletes are innocent” and that they would consider an appeal against the courts decision. The court also decided that none of the 39 athletes should be banned from all future Olympic Games, but only the 2018 Games. Three Russian athletes are still waiting for their hearing which is scheduled to be conducted after the 2018 Games.[117] After the partially successful appeal, 47 Russian athletes and coaches again appealed to the CAS trying to get an invitation to the games. On the day of the opening ceremony, the appeal was dismissed which was a welcome decision for the IOC.[118]

An original pool of 500 Russian athletes were put forward for consideration for the games and 111 were immediately removed from consideration. The remaining athletes had to meet pre-games conditions such as further pre-games tests and reanalysis from stored samples. Only if these requirements are met can the athletes be considered for invitation to the games. None of the athletes who had been sanctioned by the Oswald Commission were still in the pool.[119] The final number of neutral Russian athletes invited to compete was 169[120] however, not all of the invited Russians accepted their invitations with speed skater Olga Graf choosing not to compete stating that "the sport has become a bargaining chip in dirty political games".[121] This meant that the final number of neutral Russians competing at the games was narrowed down to 168.

Reaction in Russia

In the past, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, and other officials had said that it would be a humiliation for Russia if its athletes were not allowed to compete under the Russian flag.[122] However, his spokesman later said that no boycott had been discussed.[114] After the IOC decision was announced, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of Chechnya, announced that no Chechen athletes would participate under a neutral flag.[123] On 6 December, Putin stated that the Russian government would not prevent any athletes from participating at the Games as individuals, but there were calls from other politicians for a boycott.[124][125] Gennady Zyuganov, a leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, proposed to send fans with a Soviet Victory Banner.[126] Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has said that the United States "fears honest competition",[127] affirming Vladimir Putin's position who had said that the United States used its influence within the International Olympic Committee to "orchestrate the doping scandal".[128] According to Komsomolskaya Pravda, a popular Russian newspaper, 86% of the Russian population oppose participating in the Olympics under a neutral flag.[129]

Despite the OAR designation, many Russian fans still attended the Games, wearing the Russian colours and chanting "Russia!" in unison, in an act of defiance against the ban.[130]

Reactions in Western media

The IOC's decision was criticized by Jack Robertson, primary investigator of the Russian doping program on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency, who said that the IOC has issued "a non-punitive punishment meant to save face while protecting the [IOC's] and Russia's commercial and political interests". He also emphasized that Russian whistleblowers provided empirical evidence that "99 percent of [their] national-level teammates were doping". According to Robertson, "[WADA] has discovered that when a Russian athlete [reaches] the national level, he or she [has] no choice in the matter: [it is] either dope, or you’re done". "There is currently no intelligence I have seen or heard about that indicates the state-sponsored doping program has ceased", he added.[131] It was also reported that Russian officials intensively lobbied US politicians in an apparent attempt to achieve Grigory Rodchenkov's (main whistleblower) extradition to Russia.[132]

Justin Peters of Slate magazine wrote that the IOC "ended up with a situation that seemed to negate the entire point of the sanctions against Russia. The IOC did not want there to be a Russian Olympic team at the Pyeongchang Games. And yet the hockey, curling, and figure-skating arenas are full of teams of Russian Olympians ... [this is] a half-hearted wrist slap issued by an entity that appears more interested in saving face than in protecting athletes".[133]

CAS decision to overturn life bans of 28 Russian athletes and restore their medals met fierce criticism among Olympic officials, including IOC president Thomas Bach who had said this decision is "extremely disappointing and surprising". Grigory Rodchenkov's lawyer has said that "the CAS decision would allow doped athletes to escape without punishment".[134] "[CAS decision] provides yet another ill-gotten gain for the corrupt Russian doping system generally, and Putin specifically", he added.[135]

Doping in Olympics

On 13 February, Japanese short track skater Kei Saito became the first athlete suspended for doping at these Olympics.[136] Later, Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky was caught in a doping check. The mandatory follow-on verified the presence of meldonium in his blood.[137] Slovenian ice hockey player Žiga Jeglič was suspended until the end of the Games for doping.[138]

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Winter Olympics

XXIII Olympic Winter Games (2018)
Succeeded by

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