2018 Winter Olympics

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XXIII Olympic Winter Games
PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.svg
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 Kim Yun-a[2]
Stadium Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium
Winter
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Summer
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Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Hangul 평창 동계 올림픽 대회
Hanja 平昌冬季올림픽大會
Revised Romanization Pyeongchang Donggye Ollimpik Daehoe
McCune–Reischauer P'yŏngch'ang Tonggye Ollimp'ik Taehoe
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Hangul 제23회 동계 올림픽 대회
Hanja 第二十三回冬季올림픽大會
Revised Romanization Jeisipsamhoe Donggye Ollimpik Daehoe
McCune–Reischauer Cheisipsamhoe Tonggye Ollimp'ik Taehoe

The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games (Korean: 제23회 동계 올림픽, translit. Jeisipsamhoe Donggye Ollimpik) and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018, was an international winter multi-sport event that was held between 9 and 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon Province, South Korea, with the opening rounds for certain events held on 8 February 2018, the eve of the opening ceremony.

Pyeongchang was elected as the host city in July 2011, during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa. This was the first time that South Korea had hosted the Winter Olympics and the second Olympics held in the country overall, after the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. It was the third time that an East Asian country had hosted the Winter Games, after Sapporo (1972) and Nagano (1998), both in Japan. It was also the first of three consecutive Olympics to be held in East Asia, the other two being the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Games featured 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 NOCs competed, including the debuts of Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore. After a state-sponsored doping program was exposed following the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended, and selected athletes were allowed to compete neutrally under the IOC designation of "Olympic Athletes from Russia". Despite tense relations, North Korea agreed to participate in the Games, enter with South Korea during the opening ceremony as a unified Korea, and field a unified team in women's ice hockey.

Norway led the total medal tally with 39, followed by Germany's 31 and Canada's 29.[3] Germany and Norway were tied for the most gold medals won; both won fourteen golds. Host nation South Korea won seventeen medals, their highest medal haul at a Winter Olympics, five of which were gold.

Bidding and election[edit]

Pyeongchang bid to host both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, but lost in the final rounds of voting to Vancouver and Sochi respectively.[4]

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.[5]

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).[6][7]

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

Development and preparation[edit]

Pyeongchang is located in South Korea
Pyeongchang
Pyeongchang
Location in South Korea

On 5 August 2011, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the formation of the Pyeongchang 2018 Coordination Commission.[8][9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12] In June 2012, construction began on a high-speed rail line that would connect Pyeongchang to Seoul.[13]

The International Paralympic Committee met for an orientation with the Pyeongchang 2018 organizing committee in July 2012.[14] Then-IOC President Jacques Rogge visited Pyeongchang for the first time in February 2013.[15]

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]

2018 Olympics gold medal
2018 Winter Olympics torch

Medals[edit]

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 the obverse featuring the Games' emblem, the event name and the discipline. The edge of the medals features extrusions of hangul alphabets, while the ribbons are made from a traditional South Korean textile.[17]

Torch relay[edit]

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.[18]

Venues[edit]

Olympic venues 2018
Dragon Valley (Alpensia) Ski Resort

Most of the outdoor snow events were held in the county of Pyeongchang, while the downhill, combined and super-G events in the Alpine skiing were held in the neighboring county of Jeongseon. The indoor ice events were held in Pyeongchang's neighboring city of Gangneung.

Pyeongchang (mountain cluster)[edit]

The Alpensia Sports Park in Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang, was the focus of the 2018 Winter Olympics.[19][20] It was home to the Olympic Stadium,[21] the Olympic Village and most of the outdoor sports venues.

Additionally, a stand-alone outdoor sports venue was located in Bongpyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang:

Another stand-alone outdoor sports venue was located in Pyeongchang's neighboring county of Jeongseon:

Gangneung (coastal cluster)[edit]

The Gangneung Olympic Park in the city of Gangneung includes four indoor sports venues, all in close proximity to one another.

Additionally, a stand-alone indoor sports venue was located in the grounds of Catholic Kwandong University.

Ticketing[edit]

Ticket prices for the 2018 Winter Olympics were announced in April 2016 and tickets went on sale in October 2016. Event tickets ranged in price from 20,000 (approx. US$17) to ₩900,000 (~US$776) while tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies ranged from ₩220,000 (~US$190) to ₩1.5 million (~US$1293). The exact prices were determined through market research; around 50% of the tickets were 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, were made cheaper in order to encourage attendance. By contrast, figure skating and the men's ice hockey gold-medal game carried the most expensive tickets of the Games.[22]

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 were more favorable, with 59.7% of the 320,000 allocated tickets sold.[23][24] However, as of 31 January 2018, 77% of all tickets had been sold.[25]

The Games[edit]

Parade of Nations at 2018 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Opening ceremony[edit]

The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was held at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on 9 February 2018; the US$100 million facility was only intended to be used for the opening and closing ceremonies of these Olympics and the subsequent Paralympics, and is scheduled to be demolished following their conclusion.[26]

Sports[edit]

The 2018 Winter Olympics featured 102 events in 15 sports,[27] 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.[28][27]

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

Participating National Olympic Committees[edit]

A total of 92 teams qualified at least one athlete to compete in the Games. The number of athletes who qualified per country is listed in the table below (number of athletes shown in parentheses). Six nations made their Winter Olympics debut: Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.[29][30] Athletes from three further countries – 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).[31]

Under an historic agreement facilitated by the IOC, qualified athletes from North Korea were allowed to cross the Korean Demilitarized Zone into South Korea to compete in the Games.[32][33][34] The two nations marched together under the Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony.[35][36] A unified Korean team, consisting of 12 players from North Korea and 23 from South Korea, competed in the women's ice hockey tournament under a special IOC country code designation (COR) following talks in Panmunjom on 17 January 2018.[37] The two nations also participated separately: the South Korea team competed in every sport and the North Korea team competed in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating and short track speed skating.[38] 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 and the investigation into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Individual Russian athletes, who qualified and could demonstrate they had complied with the IOC's doping regulations, were given the option to compete at the 2018 Games as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR) under the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem played at any ceremony.[39]

  The participating countries at the Winter Olympics 2018
  Debuting countries at the Winter Olympics
Participating National Olympic Committees[40][41][42][43][44][45]
NOCs that participated in 2014, but not in 2018. NOCs that participated in 2018, but not in 2014.

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committee[edit]

a Apart from the respective delegations, North Korea and South Korea formed a unified Korean women's ice hockey team.
b Russian athletes participated as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) if individually cleared by the IOC.

Event scheduling[edit]

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 sports among U.S. viewers. This scheduling practice 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.[46]

Conversely, and somewhat controversially, eight of the eleven biathlon events were scheduled at night, making it necessary for competitors to ski and shoot under floodlights, with colder temperatures and blustery winds.[47]

Calendar[edit]

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 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
Daily medal events 0 0 5 6 7 8 4 9 7 9 6 3 5 7 10 4 8 4 102
Cumulative total 0 0 5 11 18 26 30 39 46 55 61 64 69 76 86 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


Medal table[edit]

  *   Host nation (South Korea)[48]

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
 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
 New Zealand (NZL) 0 0 2 2
28  Kazakhstan (KAZ) 0 0 1 1
 Latvia (LAT) 0 0 1 1
 Liechtenstein (LIE) 0 0 1 1
Total (30 NOCs) 103 102 102 307

Podium sweeps[edit]

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 [49]
11 February Cross-country skiing Men's 30 km skiathlon  Norway Simen Hegstad Krüger Martin Johnsrud Sundby Hans Christer Holund [50]
20 February Nordic combined Individual large hill/10 km  Germany Johannes Rydzek Fabian Rießle Eric Frenzel [51]

Records[edit]

Olympic cauldron in Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium

Closing ceremony[edit]

The closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was held at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on 25 February 2018, as Thomas Bach, the IOC president, declared the Games closed, and the cauldron extinguished.

Broadcasting[edit]

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 in July 2011 had extended its rights to the Olympics through to 2024.[67] SBS sub-licensed its rights to MBC and KBS.[68]

On 29 June 2015, the IOC announced that Discovery Communications had acquired exclusive rights to the Olympics across all of Europe outside of Russia, from 2018 through to 2024. Discovery's pan-European Eurosport networks were promoted as the main rightsholder of the Games, but Discovery free-to-air channels such as DMAX in Spain,[69] Kanal 5 in Sweden and TVNorge in Norway, were also involved.[70] Discovery was required to sub-licence at least 100 hours of coverage to free-to-air broadcasters in each market;[71][72][73] some of these agreements required certain sports to be exclusive to Eurosport and its affiliated networks.[74][74] The deal did not initially cover France due to France Télévisions' rights, which run through to the 2020 Games.[75] In the United Kingdom, Discovery held exclusive pay television rights under license from the BBC, in return for BBC sub-licencing the free-to-air rights to the 2022 and 2024 Olympics from Discovery.[76]

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.[75] Russia was not affected by the Eurosport deal, due to a pre-existing contract held by a marketing agency which runs through to 2024.[75]

In the United States, the Games were once again broadcast by NBCUniversal properties under a long-term contract.[77][78] As U.S. Eastern Time is fourteen hours behind Pyeongchang, morning events naturally fell within traditional U.S. prime time hours (8:00 to 11:00 pm). This allowed NBC to broadcast its prime time coverage live in all U.S. time zones, rather than showing "plausibly live" delayed footage as they had in previous Olympics. As per previous Games, the ceremonies were still shown on TV via tape delay only, but NBC did, for the first time, offer live streaming of the opening ceremony online.[79][80] Notably, figure skating events were deliberately scheduled for the morning in Pyeongchang to accommodate the network’s live broadcast to a peak U.S. audience in the evening.[46]

NHK and Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) 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.[81][82] In South Korea, ATSC 3.0 digital terrestrial television at 4K resolution was introduced in 2017 in time for the Olympics.[83][84] In the U.S., this footage was delivered in 4K by NBCUniversal parent Comcast to participating television providers, including its own Xfinity, as well as DirecTV and Dish Network. NBC's Raleigh, North Carolina affiliate WRAL-TV also held demonstration viewings as part of its ATSC 3.0 test broadcasts.[85][86][87]

The 2018 Winter Olympics were also used to showcase 5G wireless technologies, as part of a collaboration between domestic wireless sponsor KT, and worldwide sponsor Intel. Several venues were outfitted with 5G networks to facilitate features such as live camera feeds from bobsleds, and multi-camera views from cross-country and figure skating events. These were offered as part of public demonstrations coordinated by KT and Intel.[88][89]

Marketing[edit]

Branding[edit]

The emblem for the Games was unveiled on 3 May 2013. It is a stylised representation of the hangul letters p and ch, these being the initial sounds of 평창 Pyeongchang. The left-hand symbol is said to represent the Korean philosophical triad of heaven, earth and humanity (Korean: 천지인 cheon-ji-in), and the right-hand symbol represents a crystal of ice.[90] In the emblem and all official materials, Pyeongchang was stylised in CamelCase as "PyeongChang", in order to alleviate potential confusion with Pyongyang, the similarly-named capital of neighbouring North Korea.[91]

Soohorang (left) and Bandabi (right), respective mascots of 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Mascots[edit]

The official mascots of the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled on 2 June 2016. The Olympic mascot, Soohorang (Korean: 수호랑), is a white tiger. The mascot's name is a portmanteau of "Sooho", a Korean word for "protection", and "Rang" which is derived both from the Korean word for "tiger" and from the name of a traditional Korean folk song originating from Gangwon Province.[92] Tigers have a strong association with Korean culture and folklore.

Video games[edit]

Intel Extreme Masters Season 12 – Pyeongchang
Tournament information
Sport StarCraft II
Location Pyeongchang, South Korea
Administrator(s) Electronic Sports League
Final positions
Champions Canada Scarlett
Runner-up South Korea sOs

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.[93][94]

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 recognised that eSports "could be considered as a sporting activity".[95][96][97] 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.[98][99]

Sponsors[edit]

The 2018 Winter Olympics saw increasing granularity in official sponsorships for technology vendors; Intel signed with the IOC to become part of its Worldwide Olympic Partner program, to promote 5G wireless technology, as well as broadcasting technology such as 360-degree video and virtual reality. Alibaba Group was also named the official e-commerce and cloud services provider. These categories affected how the vendors were allowed to promote themselves within the context of the Olympics: Samsung could showcase VR experiences but only within the context of its own smartphones due to Intel's sponsorship rights in relation to VR; Alibaba could not promote Alipay due to Visa Inc. sponsorship rights; and Intel could not promote end-user applications of 5G due to national sponsorship rights held by KT Corporation.[100][101]

Concerns and controversies[edit]

North Korean relations[edit]

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.[102] 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 could not be guaranteed.[103]

Protesters at Gwanghwamun Plaza criticising the game's
pro-North Korean measures

The next day, Austria and Germany raised similar concerns and also threatened to skip the Games. France later reaffirmed its participation.[104] 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.[105] However, days later the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, stated that the United States would participate.[106]

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.[107][108] 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.[109][110]

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.[111] 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.[112] 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.[109][113]

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.[114][115] In contrast, U.S. vice president Mike Pence met with Fred Warmbier (father of Otto Warmbier, who had died after being released from captivity in North Korea) and a group of North Korean defectors in Pyeongchang.[116] American officials said that North Korea cancelled a meeting with Pence at the last minute.[117]

At the closing ceremony, North Korea sent general Kim Yong-chol as its delegate. His presence was met with hostility from South Korean conservatives, as there were allegations that he had a role in the ROKS Cheonan sinking and other past attacks. The Ministry of Unification stated that "there is a limitation in pinpointing who was responsible for the incident." Although he is subject to sanctions, they did not affect his ability to visit the country for the Games.[118][119]

Russian doping[edit]

Russia's participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics was affected by the aftermath of its state-sponsored doping program. As a result, the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in December 2017, although Russian athletes whitelisted by the IOC were allowed to compete neutrally under the OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia) designation.[120] The official sanctions imposed by the IOC included: the exclusion of Russian government officials from the Games; the use of the Olympic Flag and Olympic Anthem in place of the Russian flag and anthem; and the submission of a replacement logo for the OAR uniforms.[121]

By early January 2018, the IOC had banned 43 Russian athletes from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics and all future Olympic Games (as part of the Oswald Commission). Of those athletes, 42 appealed against their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and 28 of the appeals were successful, but eleven of the athletes had their sanctions upheld due to the weight of evidence against them. The IOC stated that the court ruling did not prove that the 28 athletes were innocent and that they would not necessarily be invited to the 2018 Games. Three of the athletes who appealed are still awaiting their hearings.[122]

The eventual number of neutral Russian athletes that participated at the 2018 Games was 168. These were selected from an original pool of 500 athletes that was put forward for consideration and, in order to receive an invitation to the Games, they were obliged to meet a number of pre-games conditions to rule out any possibility of doping.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and other officials had signalled in the past that it would be a humiliation if Russian athletes were not allowed to compete under the Russian flag.[123] However, there were never actually any official plans to boycott the 2018 Games[120] and in late 2017 the Russian government agreed to allow their athletes to compete at the Games as individuals under a neutral designation.[124][125] Despite this public show of co-operation, there were numerous misgivings voiced by leading Russian politicians, including a statement from Putin himself saying that he believed the United States had used its influence within the IOC to "orchestrate the doping scandal".[126] 86% of the Russian population opposed participation at the Olympics under a neutral flag,[127] and many Russian fans attended the Games wearing the Russian colours and chanting "Russia!" in unison, in an act of defiance against the ban.[128]

The IOC's decision was heavily criticised by Jack Robertson, primary investigator of the Russian doping program on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in whose opinion the judgement was commercially and politically motivated. He argued that not only was doping rife amongst Russian athletes but that there was no sign of it being eradicated.[129] The CAS decision to overturn the life bans of 28 Russian athletes and restore their medals was also fiercely criticised, by Olympic officials, IOC president Thomas Bach and whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov's lawyer.[130]

National Hockey League[edit]

For the first time since 1998, the National Hockey League did 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 participated in the Games. Although the IOC did pay to insure NHL players in Sochi, the commission 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.[131][132][133] 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.[134][135]

Other leagues, such as the Swedish Hockey League, did not close during the games,[136] but teams had to accept that some players took part in the games instead of the league.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sochi
Winter Olympics
Pyeongchang

XXIII Olympic Winter Games (2018)
Succeeded by
Beijing