Of course by all means don a pair of skis and go whizzing down the mountain side, but have a couple of practice runs before you do! It is that time of year to be inspired by the 2018 winter Olympics and get behind your country to win and hang out with a couple of cute mascots; Soohorang and Bandabi in the process.
In a city, 80 miles east of Seoul is Pyeongchang. Here is where the 23rd winter Olympic games are being held. The first ever games took place in Chamonix, France in 1924. In the current games, 15 sports disciplines are taking place across 13 venues. Four of these events are seeing their debut at these games. These are: Curling mixed doubles; Alpine skiing team event; Speed-skating mass start and Big air snowboarding. By adding these, the Olympic committee are hoping to see a rise in younger audiences and ensure the start of gender equality in sports.
The venues where these events are taking place are within 30 minutes distance of the main Olympic stadium. This is where the world watched in amazement as the opening ceremony event took place on the 9th of February. Highlights of the event were but not limited to:
- Atheletes from both North and South Korea entered together under a flag depicting the Korean Peninsula.
- Su-Mi Hwang sung the Greek lyrics of the Olmpic anthem attired in a beautiful traditional South Korean gown.
- Kim Nam-ki, the oldest man alive, filled the stadium with his voice of the original version of Jeongseon Arirang.
- A record-setting 1,218 drones came together to form the five Olympic rings in the sky, drawing the breadth of viewers from around the world.
- I got chills watching John Lennon’s “Imagine” being sung by folk-rock icon Jeon In-kwon, Ha Hyun-woo of the rock band Guckkasten, and indie pop singer Ahn Ji-young of Bolbbalgan4.
- I also watched on in awe as Queen Yuna Kim performed a short skating routine before being handed the torch to light the Olympic cauldron.
Song Seung-whan was the executive creative director for the opening ceremony, that saw the narrative of the ceremony begin as a fairy-tale adventure with five children learning about South Korea’s history and culture through time. Song is best known for creating the musical Nanta (also known as Cookin’ or Cookin’ Nanta). It is a nonverbal performance that debuted in 1997. The show mixed comedy, music, cooking and traditional Korean samul nori rhythm. I was able to watch this along with my fellow honorary reporters back in Seoul 2016. Read Ma Chun Meng’s review of the event.
By the end of the event, which will see its closing ceremony take place on the 25th February, a record of 102 medals will be awarded across the 15 events.
This is the second time that South Korea has hosted the Olympics. The first being in 1988 when they held the summer Olympics. I will always remember that time as Steffi Graf’s victory of the Golden Grand Slam. Not only did this amazing tennis player win all the majors of the tennis sport, she walked away with the Gold for Germany in Seoul. When I visited Seoul in 2008, I was able to go to Olympic Park and take a picture on the court where she would have achieved this amazing feat.