A Brief Guide to the 2018 Olympics and the Sports Featured

by Nicole Soares

It’s time to let the Winter Games take over. Let us be consumed by the athletes’ adrenaline and the sound of the metal blades as it scrapes the thick surface of the ice rings, along with the sound of the planks as they’re sliding down and doing extreme, almost impossible air tricks, in snow-covered slopes.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are taking place in Pyeonchang, South Korea, where more than 2,800 athletes from more than 85 nations are competing for 17 days. But how did this tradition begin? According to olympic.org, the official website for the Olympics, the first official Olympic Winter Games were held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. It was at the same year that The Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) was founded, allowing skiing to make its first Olympic debut.

This year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected 15 sports, some sports which can be unusual and strange to some, including curling, which involves a team, a stone, a sweep, and a whole lot of strategy. Skeleton, for this sport a small sled is used as the athlete slides face down on an ice track.

The luge is not to be confused with the skeleton, this time a face up position is needed as the players race in sharp curves. The bobsleigh requires a bigger sled and more than one person, and the Biathlon adds rifle shooting into the cross-country skiing discipline. Other common sports played in the Winter Olympics are figure skating, ice hockey, short track, and speed skating.

Currently there are six disciplines of skiing including Alpine skiing, which involve speed and technical skills and cross country skiing, which requires the athlete to glide across a snow-covered field in the shortest possible time.

Ski jumping is a form of Nordic skiing where the skiers glide down a ramp at up to 90km/h, while performing jumps the skier must whir away from the launching zone to make a stable landing. The Nordic combined consists of a combination of cross country, and ski jumping. Freestyle skiing is a form of artistic sport involving aerial acrobatics. At last, there’s snowboarding, which is fairly common in the US.

Aside from bringing the world together and providing entertainment the Olympics claims one mission. “Creating sustainable legacies is a fundamental commitment of the Olympic Movement,” said Jacques Rogge, the IOC President in a statement published by olympic.org. “Host cities capture worldwide attention. Each has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to showcase the celebration of the human spirit. And each creates a unique set of environmental, social and economic legacies that can change a community, a region, and a nation forever.”

In May of 2016, the IOC published a factsheet on the legacies of the game, the report showed why the Olympics holds a high influence on the nation. The factsheet claimed that many of the cities in which the Olympic games were held saw long-term benefits, with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio listed as the most recent influential impact including increased access to public transportation, economic, and sanitation improvements.

Here are some fun and important additional facts about the 2018 Olympic games; Soohorang is the name of the Olympics’ mascot, a guardian white tiger and its hometown, the city where the games will be held, is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time. Despite ongoing tensions, North Korea agreed to participate and march with the South under a “unified Korea.” After cases of doping emerged, the IOC agreed to let Russian athletes who have a doping-free background participate in the Winter Games.

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