The 2018 Winter Olympics Are Far From Rio

by Stephanie Casella

With all of this Summer Olympics chatter, one may start to drift off and wonder about the next Winter Olympics — because, honestly, summer sports aren't for everyone. For fans of snowy and icy activities, the next opportunity to see the classics like skating, hockey, curling, skiing, and bobsledding are the 2018 Olympics, to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a city to the east of Seoul, the country's capital. Pyeongchang is a cool place to hold these games for a vast number of reasons — though there are so many — some of which will prove pretty exciting as the games approach.

For one, this South Korean city was up against two other International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board selections — Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France — in the bid to hold the event. Pyeongchang pulled through with flying colors! During the election for the 2018 Winter Olympics host city, Pyeongchang blew both Munich and Annecy out of the water, with 63 votes to Munich's 25 and Annecy's seven.

Secondly, though the games are scheduled for Feb. 9 to Feb. 25, 2018 (certainly a whole lot of time to wait), the effect on the image of South Korea is a major refresh. The country has only ever hosted the Olympics once, back in 1988. Not to mention, it was a Summer Olympics, held in Seoul. This will give the host city an opportunity to shine, and plenty of economic opportunities.

Viewers of the 2018 games can anticipate the following exciting and popular events: alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short-track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating. The Feb. 9 opening ceremony is three weeks from the closing ceremony on Feb. 25, and this is not even including the Paralympic Winter Games. The Paralympics are scheduled for March 9 to 18, 2018, and will feature up to 670 athletes in sports such as alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling.

There's also the official mascot of the 2018 games, and it's super-cute. Named Soohorang, it's a little white tiger, an animal symbolic and important to South Koreans. In mythology, the white tiger was viewed as a guardian that helped protect the country and its people. Soohorang's color is also fitting, given these games take place in the snow and on ice.

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This is the first Winter Olympics for South Korea, though as mentioned earlier, the nation did hold 1988 Summer Olympic Games, as well as the 2002 FIFA World Cup. With cool things like protective robots (yes, that is happening), the adorable Soohorang, and the Paralympics, the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang should do a good deal to boost South Korea's public image for the rest of the world to experience.