2018 Winter Olympics

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XXIII Olympic Winter Games
PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.svg
Host city Pyeongchang, South Korea
Motto Passion. Connected.
Korean: 하나된 열정. (Hanadoen Yeoljeong)
Nations participating 92
Athletes participating 2,952
Events 102 in 7 sports (15 disciplines)
Opening ceremony 9 February
Closing ceremony 25 February
Stadium Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium
Pyeongchang is located in South Korea
Pyeongchang
Pyeongchang
Location in South Korea
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
Revised Romanization Je-isipsamhoe Donggye Ollimpik

The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XXIIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver Hangul: 제23회 동계 올림픽; RR: Je-isipsamhoe Donggye Ollimpik)) and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to take place from 9 to 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea.

The elected host city was announced on 6 July 2011 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa. Pyeongchang won its bid on the first round of voting, receiving more votes than both Munich, Germany and Annecy, France combined.[1]

These will be South Korea's second Olympic Games and its first Winter Games; Seoul hosted the Summer Games in 1988.

Bidding

Pyeongchang bid to host both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games but lost in the final rounds of voting; despite earning more votes than the eventual winner in the first rounds of voting of both their bids, Pyeongchang would ultimately lose by three and four votes, respectively. Pyeongchang won its bid for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in the first round of voting, receiving 63 of the 95 votes cast, giving it the majority required to be elected host city.

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 25 votes. Annecy (in southeastern France) launched a bid, but failed to secure public support from local citizens. Their bid received seven votes.

Host city election

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. Pyeongchang will be the third Asian city to host the Winter Games; the first two were in Japan, at Sapporo (1972) and Nagano (1998).[2]

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

Tickets

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$18) to ₩900,000 (US$822). Tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies range from ₩220,000 (US$201) to ₩1.5 million (US$1370). The exact prices were determined through market research; around 50% of the tickets are expected to cost about ₩80,000 (US$73) or less, and tickets in sports that are relatively unknown in the region, such as biathlon and luge, will be 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.[3]

As of 11 October 2017, domestic ticket sales for the Games have been slow. Of the 750,000 seats allocated to South Koreans, only 20.7% have been sold. International sales have been better, with 59.7% of the 320,000 allocated tickets sold.[4] As of 21 January 2018, 69.7% of all tickets have been sold.[5] As of 31 January 2018, 75% of all ticket have been sold.[6]

Preparations

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 will 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]

On 27 June 2014 the Pyeongchang Olympic Committee announced their mascot selection contest.[15] The contest ran from 15 September 2014 to 30 September 2014. The 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Pyeongchang.

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.[16]

Torch relay

The torch relay started on 24 October 2017 in Greece and will end at the start of the Olympics on 9 February 2018. On 1 November 2017 the relay entered Korea. The relay will last 101 days. There will be 7,500 torch bearers to represent the 75 million population living in Korea. There will also be 2018 support runners. The support runners will guard the torch and be messengers.

The torch and its bearers will travel 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 will also be robot torch relays in Jeju and Daejeon.[17]

Venues

Olympic venues 2018
Dragon Valley Ski Resort

Pyeongchang (Mountain cluster)

Alpensia Sports Park

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

Stand-alone venues

Gangneung (Coastal cluster)

The coastal cluster is located in the city of Gangneung. The Gangneung Olympic Park will include the following four venues:

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

Sports

The 2018 Winter Olympics will feature 102 events in 15 sports, making it the first Winter Olympics to surpass 100 medal events. Four new disciplines in existing sports were introduced to the Winter Olympic programme in Pyeongchang, including big air snowboarding, mixed doubles curling, mass start speed skating, and mixed team alpine skiing.[21]

For the first time since 1998, the National Hockey League will not 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.[22][23][24] 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.[25][26]

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

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.[27]

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

Under an agreement with North Korea, its qualified athletes will be allowed to cross the Korean Demilitarized Zone into South Korea and compete in the games.[28][29][30] The two nations will march together under the Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony.[31][32] A Unified Korea women's ice hockey team will also compete under a separate IOC country code designation (COR); in all other sports, there will be a separate North Korea team and a separate South Korea team.[33] See North Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics for further details.

On 5 December 2017 the IOC announced that the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended due to the Russian doping controversy. Individual athletes who qualified and can demonstrate they have complied with the IOC's doping regulations will instead compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR) under a neutral flag and with the Olympic anthem played in any ceremony.[34]

Participating National Olympic Committees[35][36][37][38][39][40]
NOCs that participated in 2014, but did not in 2018. NOCs that participated in 2018, but not 2014.

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committees (by highest to lowest)

  1. a A unified Korean team consisting of players from both North Korea and South Korea will compete 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.[41]
  2. b Russia participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics, but following the doping controversy the Russian NOC was barred, and the Russian athletes are participating as Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Calendar

All dates are KST (UTC+9)


OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Event finals EG Exhibition gala CC Closing ceremony
February 8th
Thu
9th
Fri
10th
Sat
11th
Sun
12th
Mon
13th
Tue
14th
Wed
15th
Thu
16th
Fri
17th
Sat
18th
Sun
19th
Mon
20th
Tue
21st
Wed
22nd
Thu
23rd
Fri
24th
Sat
25th
Sun
Events
Olympic Rings Icon.svg Ceremonies OC CC N/A
Alpine skiing pictogram.svg Alpine skiing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
Biathlon pictogram.svg Biathlon 1 1 2 1 1 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
Daily medal events 5 7 8 8 6 7 5 9 6 3 5 7 8 6 8 4 102
Cumulative total 5 12 20 28 34 41 46 55 61 64 69 76 84 90 98 102
February 8th
Thu
9th
Fri
10th
Sat
11th
Sun
12th
Mon
13th
Tue
14th
Wed
15th
Thu
16th
Fri
17th
Sat
18th
Sun
19th
Mon
20th
Tue
21st
Wed
22nd
Thu
23rd
Fri
24th
Sat
25th
Sun
Total events


Medals

Medal table

     Host nation (South Korea)

Rank NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Norway (NOR) 14 14 11 39
2  Germany (GER) 14 10 7 31
3  Canada (CAN) 11 8 10 29
4  United States (USA) 9 8 6 23
5  Netherlands (NED) 8 6 6 20
6  Sweden (SWE) 7 6 1 14
7  South Korea (KOR) 5 8 4 17
8  Switzerland (SUI) 5 6 4 15
9  France (FRA) 5 4 6 15
10  Austria (AUT) 5 3 6 14
11  Japan (JPN) 4 5 4 13
12  Italy (ITA) 3 2 5 10
13  Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) 2 6 9 17
14  Czech Republic (CZE) 2 2 3 7
15  Belarus (BLR) 2 1 0 3
16  China (CHN) 1 6 2 9
17  Slovakia (SVK) 1 2 0 3
18  Finland (FIN) 1 1 4 6
19  Great Britain (GBR) 1 0 4 5
20  Poland (POL) 1 0 1 2
21  Hungary (HUN) 1 0 0 1
21  Ukraine (UKR) 1 0 0 1
23  Australia (AUS) 0 2 1 3
24  Slovenia (SLO) 0 1 1 2
25  Belgium (BEL) 0 1 0 1
26  Spain (ESP) 0 0 2 2
26  New Zealand (NZL) 0 0 2 2
28  Kazakhstan (KAZ) 0 0 1 1
28  Latvia (LAT) 0 0 1 1
28  Liechtenstein (LIE) 0 0 1 1
Total 103 102 102 307

Marketing

Branding

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. Additionally 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.[42]

The name of the host city has been intentionally formatted in all official materials as "PyeongChang", rather than "Pyeongchang". This is to alleviate potential confusion with Pyongyang, the similarly-named capital of neighbouring North Korea.[43]

The official pictograms for 24 sports across 15 disciplines were revealed in January 2017 and are designed using the Korean alphabet as inspiration.[44]

Mascots

The official mascots for the Games, Soohorang (수호랑), a white tiger, and Bandabi (반다비), an Asiatic black bear, were unveiled on 2 June 2016.[45]

Theme song

Korean Singer Big Bang's Group Taeyang will be releasing a new song called "LOUDER" in support of the upcoming '2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.[1]

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.[46][47]

In November 2017, it was announced that the IOC would support and sponsor an Intel Extreme Masters eSports event in Pyeongchang to coincide with the Games, featuring a StarCraft II tournament and an exhibition showcasing Steep. 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".[48][49][50]

Broadcasting rights

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.[51]

On 29 June 2015, the IOC announced that Discovery Communications had acquired exclusive rights to the Olympics across Europe, excluding Russia, 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. 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 will broadcast its coverage across its pan-European Eurosport networks and other regional properties, such as DMAX,[52] but has committed to sub-license at least 100 hours of coverage to free-to-air networks.[53][54][55] In the United Kingdom, Discovery will hold 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.[56]

In the United States, the Games will once again be broadcast by NBC under a long-term contract with NBCUniversal; it will be 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.[57][58] 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.[59]

Concerns and controversies

Security

On 20 September 2017, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said the country is pushing to ensure security at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games amid rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear tests and a series of missile launches.[60] However, on the next day, French Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Laura Flessel-Colovic said France's Winter Olympics team will not travel to South Korea if the security of the delegation cannot be guaranteed.[61]

On 22 September 2017, Austria and Germany joined France in considering not attending the Games. Karl Stoss, head of Austria's national Olympic committee, said that "if the situation worsens and the security of our athletes is no longer guaranteed, we will not go to South Korea." The German interior ministry said the security question and the possibility of keeping the German team at home would be addressed "in good time" by the government. Several days later, Laura Flessel-Colovic reaffirmed France's participation in the games. Both countries have yet to decide on reaffirming.[62]

In early December 2017, 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.[63] However, days later the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, stated that the United States "looks forward to participating" and will attend.[64] It was later announced that Vice President Mike Pence will attend the opening ceremony.[65]

Jeongseon Alpine Centre Ecological Issues

Environmental groups have raised concerns surrounding the deforestation from the slopes of Gariwang mountain to build the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Officials claim it is necessary as it is the only slope that will accommodate Olympic requirements and the forest will be restored after the games are done. Environmental groups are sceptical as the forest includes old growth of ancient and rare species.[66]

Russian doping

Official sanctions

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).[67] 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 will be used instead, and on 20 December 2017 the IOC proposed an alternate logo for the uniforms (seen at right).[68] 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."[69]

As of 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 found it important to note that CAS Secretary General "insisted 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. 3 Russian athletes are still waiting for their hearing which will be conducted after the 2018 Games.[70] After the courts decision was made public, 15 of the 28 athletes (2 of which were now retired but were now in coaching roles) applied for invitations to the games after they had won their case but the IOC declined their application [71].

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.[72] The final number of neutral Russian athletes invited to compete was 169.[73]

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.[74] However, his spokesman later said that no boycott had been discussed.[67] After the IOC decision was announced, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of Chechnya, announced that no Chechen athletes would participate under a neutral flag.[75] 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.[76][77] Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has said that the United States "fears honest competition",[78] 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".[79] According to Komsomolskaya Pravda, a popular Russian newspaper, 86% of the Russian population oppose participating in the Olympics under a neutral flag.[80]

Criticism

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.[81] 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.[82]

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".[83] "[CAS decision] provides yet another ill-gotten gain for the corrupt Russian doping system generally, and Putin specifically”, - he added.[84]

See also

Notes and references

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External links

Preceded by
Sochi
Winter Olympics
Pyeongchang

XXIII Olympic Winter Games (2018)
Succeeded by
Beijing