|Competition type||Olympic Games|
|Number and Year||XXIII / 2018|
|Host city||PyeongChang, Republic of Korea (Venues)|
|Opening ceremony||9 February|
|Closing ceremony||25 February|
|Competition dates||8 – 25 February|
|OCOG||PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games|
|Participants||2793 from 93 countries|
|Medal events||102 in 15 disciplines|
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games were awarded to PyeongChang, Korea at the IOC Session in Durban, South Africa on 6 July 2011. PyeongChang easily defeated the other two candidates (München, Germany and Annecy, France) and were the first Olympic Winter Games to be held in Korea, and only the third in Asia, after Sapporo in 1972, and Nagano in 1998, both in Japan.
In the years prior to PyeongChang the Olympic world was rocked by revelations of systematic doping and cover-ups by the Russian Federation. Numerous Russian athletes who had competed at the Summer Games of Beijing 2008 and London 2012 were revealed to have avoided sanctions and were retroactively banned, with their results from those Games changed to disqualifications.
Further, whistleblowers revealed that at the Olympic Winter Games hosted by Sochi in 2014, many Russian athletes had their urine samples switched to avoid doping positives and eventually, 44 Russians from Sochi were disqualified. These numerous doping violations led to more sanctions and calls to ban the Russian Federation from the IOC and from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The IOC met and voted, and in December 2017 sanctions were placed on the Russian Federation, forcing qualified athletes to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia. Individual Russian athletes “under strict conditions” were allowed to compete as neutrals, the Russian flag was not to be displayed, restrictions were placed on the uniforms worn by the team, and the Russian national anthem was not allowed to be played at victory ceremonies. This did not fully assuage critics who felt the sanctions were insufficient.
In the months prior to PyeongChang, DPR Korea (North) and the United States played a political game of trading barbs with US President Donald Trump and North Korean Premier Kim Jong-Un threatening each other. Many were worried about the security of the host region and, a few months after the Games ended, IOC President Thomas Bach would state that, at one point, they came close to canceling the Winter Olympics. Several nations, notably France, stated that they might not attend because of security concerns.
But negotiations then ensued between DPR Korea and the IOC. The North Koreans agreed to compete at PyeongChang, easing tensions, despite the fact that only two of their athletes had formally qualified, and those two had not been entered. The IOC allowed DPR Korea athletes to compete, and together with South Korea, they even marched in the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony under the same flag as a Unified Korea. In women’s ice hockey, North and South Korea entered a mixed Korean team and while the blended team did not win any hockey games, the statement it made was an important one, and a prideful showing of sports diplomacy. DPR Korea also sent a 30+ strong cheerleading squad that was well received by the patrons.
With this backdrop, the 2018 Olympic Winter Games went on as planned. The facilities were noted to be excellent, and the Korean organization was flawless. The weather mostly cooperated, although it was very cold (the coldest Winter Games since Lillehammer 1994), and high winds forced re-scheduling of several Alpine skiing events.
With 92 nations represented by 2,793 athletes in seven sports (102 events in 15 disciplines), Norway and Germany dominated many of the competitions with both nations winning 14 gold medals, and Norway’s total of 39 medals in all was a record for a Winter Olympics. Five-time Olympian Marit Bjørgen, the Norwegian cross-country skier, won five medals, with two golds, bringing her all-time count to 15 Winter Olympic medals, breaking the Winter Olympic record previously held by her countryman biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who had won 13. Her career eight gold medals also tied the Winter Olympic record held by Bjørndalen and Norwegian cross-country superstar Bjørn Dæhlie.
There were other landmark performances in PyeongChang. Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai became the first Olympian to compete at eight Winter Games. Two athletes performed the now rare feat of winning medals in two different sports, or technically, by IOC nomenclature, two different disciplines. Czech athlete Ester Ledecká won gold in Alpine skiing Super G and snowboarding parallel giant slalom, the first Winter Olympian in 90 years to win golds in two different disciplines at the same Winter Olympics, since Norway’s Johan Grøttumsbraaten in cross-country and Nordic combined at the 1928 St. Moritz Winter Olympics. Ledecká was joined by Dutch speed skater Jorien ter Mors, who won gold in long-track 1,000 metres speed skating, and won a bronze medal in the short-track relay in PyeongChang.
Despite the difficult run-up to the PyeongChang Games, once they started there were few problems or complaints, as is usually the case. The international goodwill created by the mixed Korean hockey team carried over after the Games. Though it is hard to give full credit to this sporting detente, within a few months after the Winter Olympics, summit meetings occurred between North and South Korean leaders Kim Jung-Un and Mun Jae-In, and also between Kim and US President Trump. In this sense, at least, the Olympic Movement seemed to have actually accomplished what is always considered to be one of their missions, to bring the peoples of all the nations of the world closer together through sport.
Bid voting at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban on 6 July 2011.
|Officially opened by||Mun Jae-In (President)|
|Torchbearer(s)||Yu-Na Kim (Lit flame), Jeon I-Gyeong, Park In-Bi, An Jeong-Hwan|
|Taker of the Athlete's Oath||Mo Tae-Beom|
|Taker of the Official's Oath||Kim U-Sik|
|Taker of the Coach's Oath||Park Ki-Ho|
|Olympic Flag Bearers||Gang Chan-Yong, Sin Hye-Suk, Kim Yun-Man, Kim Gwi-Jin, Yu Yeong, Lee Jun-Seo, Jang Yu-Jin, Jeong Seung-Gi|
|Alpine Skiing||Figure Skating||Short Track Speed Skating|
|Bobsleigh||Ice Hockey||Ski Jumping|
|Cross Country Skiing||Luge||Snowboarding|
|Curling||Nordic Combined||Speed Skating|
|Republic of Korea||KOR||5||8||4||17|
|Olympic Athletes from Russia||OAR||2||6||9||17|
|People's Republic of China||CHN||1||6||2||9|
|Johannes Høsflot Klæbo||NOR||3||0||0||3|
|Martin Johnsrud Sundby||NOR||2||1||0||3|
|Simen Hegstad Krüger||NOR||2||1||0||3|