FOR THE WEEK OF FEB. 05, 2018
Get set to cheer skaters, skiers, ice dancers, boarders, bobsledders and other Olympians in South Korea
Read pre-Olympic coverage and list things you look forward to seeing.
Find an article about athletes from your state or from a sport you like. Share two facts.
Now look for Olympic-related news on security, event sites or TV plans. What do you learn?
The Winter Olympics, a 17-day TV binge, starts late this week with colorful opening ceremonies in PyeongChang, South Korea. (The city is pronounced PEE-yongg-chang, ending with a syllable that rhymes with bang.) The international competition, held every four years, has 102 events in 15 winter sport categories. Among the most popular are snowboarding, hockey, ski jumping, figure skating and ice dancing. Up to 95 countries are participating, including 243 athletes from the U.S. – the largest delegation. The Asian country hosted the Summer Olympics 30 years ago in Seoul, its capital, and now has kits first winter version. Competitors include a few teams from North Korea – its Communist neighbor. But Russia is suspended because authorities let their athletes use prohibited performance enhancers at the 2014 winter games it hosted in Sochi.
Saturday's two-hour kickoff ceremony in a roofless, unheated stadium will feature about 2,000 performers as well as the traditional parade of athletes, raising of the Olympic flag and lighting of a symbolic flame. American athletes will wear Ralph Lauren parkas with battery-powered heat, blue jeans, brown mountain boots with red laces, navy bandanas, suede gloves and beanie hats. U.S. stars include skier Lindsay Vonn, figure skater Nathan Chen, 17-year-old snowboarder Chloe Kim and ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson. Though not a star, Maame Biney is a 17-year-old who already made history as the first black woman to qualify for America's speedskating team.
NBC, the event's U.S. network, will show live and taped events for hours each day through Jan. 25 and stream medal competitions and highlights at NBCOlympics.com. Notable events include the introduction of a sport known as "big-air snowboarding," which involves boarders zooming off a ramp to fly as high as 65 feet above ground. They spin, flip and do aerial tricks. Another novelty is a Nigerian bobsled team that trained in the U.S. and that marks the first African participation in a Winter Olympics. Closing ceremonies are Sunday, Jan. 25.
Two Koreas: Competitors from North Korea and South Korea will march under a unification flag. Male skiers and female hockey players from each country trained together.
Big-air boarder says: "Snowboard is a little bit different to other sports. We're artists. That's just the way we roll." – Ståle Sandbech of Norway
Journalist says: "Big-air snowboarding is best described as the most beautiful, insane, stupid, dangerous, death-wishing, insane and beautiful sport." – John Jeremiah Sullivan, The New York Times
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