February 2018

South Korea Hosts the Winter Olympics


During the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, the teams from South Korea and North Korea entered the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium together under the Korean Unification Flag.

Athletes from around the world are taking part in the Winter Olympic Games. The games are being held in PyeongChang, South Korea, from February 9–25, 2018. PyeongChang is a county in the northeastern part of South Korea. It has a long mountain range running through it. About 2,900 athletes from 92 countries are competing in 102 events in PyeongChang. The Winter Olympics take place only once every four years. The Olympics are based on games that first took place long ago in ancient Greece.

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics took place in the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium. This stadium was built for the Olympics. It is much larger than what is normally needed to host local events in PyeongChang. Because of this, the stadium might be remodeled in the future to better serve the county’s small population.

The opening ceremony, which launched the games, was called “Peace in Motion.” Performers acted out a fairy-tale story that helped share the history and culture of South Korea. During the parade of nations, the South Korea and North Korea teams marched together under the Korean Unification Flag. They are competing independently in the games, however. The ceremony ended with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron by South Korean figure skater, Yuna Kim.

The Winter Olympics puts a spotlight on sports that are best done in cold weather. Most of the events will take place on snow or ice. The Winter Olympics includes popular sports, such as figure skating, ice hockey, snowboarding, and skiing. There are also some new events in this year’s Winter Olympics—big air snowboarding, mass start speed skating, mixed doubles curling, and a mixed team event in Alpine skiing. Most of the athletes come from places where the weather gets cold in winter.

During the Olympics, each athlete competes to win a gold, silver, or bronze medal in his or her sport. In early events, Charlotte Kalla of Sweden won the first gold medal of the Winter Olympics in the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon. Lim Hyo-jun won the first gold medal for the host country, South Korea, in his event of short track speed skating. Red Gerard was the first American to win a gold medal. The 17-year-old won the men’s slopestyle snowboarding event. In Gerard’s first two runs, he fell. But in his third run he impressed the judges enough to win first place. American athlete Chloe Kim won a gold medal in the halfpipe snowboarding competition. Fans from the United States and South Korea were both cheering for her. The South Korean people have shown strong support for the 17-year-old, who is the daughter of immigrants from South Korea.

Image credit: ©Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
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