Why This Olympics Will Be Memorable

Ever since the First Winter Olympics was held by France in 1924, we have been lucky enough to witness a display of unity and passion every four years that always seems to surpass our expectations.  However, the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea promises to be one that will be remembered for years to come.

This year will mark the second time South Korea has hosted the Olympic Games, with the last being the Summer Olympics of 1988 in Seoul.  Pyeongchang is a beautiful city in Northeastern South Korea famous for its impressive Buddhist temples.  Pyeongchang is sure to be a great choice to host, and it has spent a total of $10 billion to prepare for the upcoming games.

The Olympics will officially begin on Friday, February 9 with the Opening Ceremony when the torch finally lights the candle Pyeongchang, concluding the torch relay that began all the way back in October at Olympia, Greece.  However, there will be events in curling and ski jumping on February 8.  After the Opening Ceremonies, there will be sixteen days of good-spirited competition ending at the Closing Ceremonies on February 25.

One of the reasons that these Olympics are sure to be so memorable is the four new events that are being added.  First, curling will gain a new competition in the mixed doubles event, which will feature teams of one man and one women competing according to the usual rules of the sport.  Also, speed skating mass start–an sixteen lap race where all twenty-four racers will start simultaneously–will bring a more aggressive atmosphere to skating as skaters jostle for their positions.  Next, an alpine skiing team event will be added where each skier on a team of two men and two women race against a member of an opposing team skiing on a parallel course.  Finally, snowboard big air will provide additional excitement as snowboarders jump off a large, steep ramp with plenty of air time to impress judges.

This year Team USA seems as poised for success as ever, with a large number of athletes with the potential to medal.  Shaun White, one of the most dominant snowboarders in Olympic history, is looking for his third gold medal in the halfpipe event.  Another veteran of her sport, Lindsey Vonn, will be skiing in her fourth Olympic Games after missing out on Sochi in 2014.  As an eighteen year, Chloe Kim is also expected to be the youngest female to ever win gold in snowboarding history.  Although NHL athletes will no longer be allowed to participate, a hockey team led by the Boston College student Jordan Greenway has a shot at a medal.  Finally, Maame Biney—the first African American woman on the speed skating team—has generated a lot of attention already despite being only seventeen.  Including these five outstanding examples, Team USA contains 243 stellar athletes eager to represent their nation.

Despite the competitive nature of the Olympics, the atmosphere and peace, unity, and international cooperation the Olympics is still the most significant part of the Olympics.  This year, this message is as important as ever, as the increasingly hostile is in need of the beacon of hope the Olympics provide.  In the spirit of this message of cooperation, South and North Korea will be marching together at the Opening Ceremony for the first time in the history of the games.  Even as we marvel at the incredible athletic feats performed, it is perhaps even more impressive that the entire world is joining in an incredible display of sportsmanship and unity—a display that will hopefully spill even outside of the athletic world.