Pyeongchang 2018 or the XXIII Olympic Winter Games was the 23rd Winter Olympics, following Sochi 2014. They were held in Gangneung, South Korea. This was the second time that the Olympics have visited South Korea, after Seoul 1988.
The Russian delegation was suspended, and only selected athletes were allowed to participate as Olympic Athletes from Russia. North Korea also participated, and to show an improving relationship between the two Koreas, a unified team was created to compete in women's ice hockey as Korea, as well as a combined entry during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Ecuador, Kosovo, Nigeria, Eritrea, Malaysia, and Singapore competed for the first time at the Winter Olympic Games.
Pyeongchang lost in the bid of both Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, but tried again for 2018. To win the bid, they had to defeat Munich, Germany (which already hosted Munich 1972) and Annecy, France. After the first round of voting, Pyeongchang had 63 votes (against 25 and 7, respectively), more than the required majority of 48 votes.
|Voting results for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games|
- Main article: Logos
The logo of the Olympic bid showed the vibrant winter scenery of South Korea, as well as the proposed development in dynamics, while the logo of the Olympic Games showcased the combination of collaboration and Korean culture. The heritage of Korean culture was further explored in both the Olympic torch and several performances during the Olympic Games.
- Main article: Torch
The Olympic torch was lit on 24 October 2017 and travelled to Incheon, South Korea, where the official torch relay started on 1 November; exactly 100 days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. From this point onwards, the torch relayed across 7,500 torchbearers in 17 cities and provinces, to arrive in the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on 9 February.
- Main article: Opening ceremony
The opening ceremony on 9 February was to convey a message of peace across the world. The ceremony, with the motto "Peace in Motion" shows that everything can live together in harmony and that everything is made out of the balance between yin and yang.
Soohorang was the official mascot of the 2018 Olympic Games. Taking the form of a white tiger, Soohorang is a trustworthy friend with a challenging spirit and an unequalled passion. He vows to protect the Olympic athletes, spectators and other participants. The name exists out of the Korean word for protection "Sooho", and "Rang". This is a combination of the Korean "Ho-rang-i", meaning "Tiger", and "Jeong-seon A-ri-rang", which is a traditional folk song of the location of Pyeongchang 2018.
The official mascot of the Paralympic Games in 2018 was the Asian black bear Bandabi, representing a strong will and courage. The name was made up of the Korean word "Bandal", which signifies the crescent moon, and "Bi", which defines the celebration of the Olympic Games. Both mascots were presented on 2 June 2016 and were designed by the design and animation team MASS C&G.
- Main article: Venues
The venues of Pyeongchang were mostly divided into two clusters: the ice events mostly took part in Gangneung, while the snow events took place in the Alpensia resort. The two standalone venues were the Bokwang Snow Park and the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, which hosted the freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and some alpine skiing events.
Pyeongchang 2018 would have the most medal events to date with 102. For the first edition with more than 100 events, four events were added to the Olympic program. These events were an attempt to appeal to the younger generation, to make the Olympic Games more dynamic and attractive, and to create more gender equality. A mixed team event was added to alpine skiing and curling. The speed skating program was expanded with the mass start for men and women. Another change was in the snowboarding program, with the parallel slalom being replaced by a big air event, both for men and women.
Thirty nations won at least one medal, the highest number at any Winter Olympic Games ever, despite all countries having won Olympic medals before. Norway topped the medal table for the first time since Grenoble 1968, despite their continued dominance in cross-country skiing throughout Olympic history. Winning 39 medals by a single nation broke the previous record of the most total medals, as set by the United States at Vancouver 2010 with 37 medals (9 gold, 15 silver, 13 bronze). Hungary won its first gold medal ever at the Winter Olympic Games.
In 102 events, only three were being dominated by a single nation: the Dutch women won all medals at the 3000 metre event in speed skating on only the second day of competition, Norway achieved the same feat two weeks later at the men's skiathlon in cross-country skiing, and Germany took their example at the large hill event in nordic combined on the same day.
Norwegian men won 24 out of 39 medals, with the women from Norway winning only 12 medals. A similar trend could also be found in second-placed Germany, with men winning 15 out of 31 medals, as opposed to 10 medals as won by women, and South Korea (11 medals by men, 5 medals by women). The opposite could be seen at the medal division of the United States (9 by men, 12 by women), the Netherlands (8 by men, 12 by women), and Sweden (4 by men, 10 by women).
Marit Bjoergen was the only athlete to win five Olympic medals (2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) in 2018, which also made her the most successful Winter Olympian ever. However, two athletes won more gold medals than she did: Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Fourcade both won three gold medals in their sport. With this, Klaebo became the youngest athlete to win three gold medals at the Winter Olympic Games, and Fourcade became the most successful French Winter Olympian in terms of gold medals. The Swedish cross-country skiers Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson both won four medals, including silver medals in the women's relay and the women's team sprint, in which they competed together. Another cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov also won four medals, but he was unable to crown himself Olympic champion. Nineteen other athletes won three total medals, including the above mentioned Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Fourcade. 93 athletes in total won two or more medals.
Belarussian Darya Domracheva became the most decorated woman in Olympic biathlon, while snowboarder Shaun White and speed skater Ireen Wust became the most decorated athletes in their sport, and Lizzy Yarnold the first skeleton rider to win two (consecutive) gold medals. Jorien ter Mors became the first Winter Olympian to win medals in two different sports at a single Olympic Games, when she won a gold medal in speed skating and a bronze medal in short track. However, she was bettered only four days later when Ester Ledecka was the first athlete to become Olympic champion in two separate sports, winning gold medals in alpine skiing and snowboarding. Yuzuru Hanyu won the 1000th Olympic medal event at the Olympic Winter Games ever, when he was the first figure skater since Dick Button to defend his individual title.
In one of the events that made their first appearance at the Olympic Games, the mixed curling, the team of the Olympic Athletes from Russia was disqualified after Aleksandr Krushelnitckii was tested positive for doping. In turn, the Norwegian team of Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien was awarded the bronze medal. This did not have any impact on the medal standings.
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