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After years of preparation and billions of dollars in investment, the 2018 Olympic Winter Games are finally here.
Mixed doubles curling matches and ski jumping qualifying are already in the books. Figure skating starts tonight (8 Eastern time). The Opening Ceremonies — which are relatively short so that no one freezes — are Friday morning (6 Eastern). Katie Couric returns to NBC to co-host with Bob Costas’s replacement, Mike Tirico.
These are the 23rd Olympic Winter Games. The first were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. The most recent were four years ago in Sochi, Russia. This year, the host is PyeongChang, South Korea. It’s the second time South Korea has held an Olympics. The first came in 1988, when Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics.
PyeongChang is about 100 miles east of Seoul, the capital, where many visitors will be staying. Thanks to a new bullet train built for the Games, the trip only takes about 90 minutes. Events are being held both in the Taebaek Mountains, along the eastern edge of the Korean Peninsula, as well as in the coastal city of Gangneung.
The weather in PyeongChang has been frigid. Organizers are distributing blankets, Visa’s credit card readers are freezing, and Team USA members are flipping on their battery-powered jackets in what might turn out to be the coldest Winter Olympics in history. (The Sochi Games, in contrast, were the warmest).
Despite the cold, dignitaries have been trickling in to South Korea. Vice President Pence landed in Seoul on Thursday to lead the American Olympic delegation. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister and close adviser, Kim Yo-Jong, is also in town. It’s the first time a member of the family has set foot in South Korea. Pence and Kim will be at the Opening Ceremonies on Friday.
Also on Thursday, North Korea staged a military parade, complete with missiles and fiery rhetoric aimed at the United States. The event was moved up from its usual April time slot to just one day before the Games.
The Post has sent a team of reporters, editors and videographers to PyeongChang to provide you with the latest in-depth coverage. All of our latest stories and posts will be available on this Olympic thread.
You can also find us on social media. To help, here’s a pre-made Twitter list with Washington Post reporters on the ground in PyeongChang.
The Post’s Lee Powell gives us a PyeongChang preview.
Curling got underway Thursday, with the mixed doubles round robin. The United States played two matches. The Americans soundly defeated the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR), 9-3, but then lost to perennial powerhouse Canada, 6-4.
Men’s normal hill ski jumping qualification also wrapped up. All four Americans advanced to the finals Saturday.
Figure skating starts tonight at 8 Eastern time on NBC. American Nathan Chen will skate in the men’s short program portion of the team event. That will be followed by the pairs short program segment at about 9:45 p.m.
The main events to watch out for, though, are the Opening Ceremonies. In a break from the past, NBC will stream the Opening Ceremonies LIVE online starting at 6 a.m. Eastern on Friday. The Opening Ceremonies will also be replayed in prime time at 8 p.m. Eastern.
By tradition, the parade of nations starts with Greece and ends with the host country. South Korea and North Korea will be marching under a unified flag. Other countries will enter the stadium based on Korean alphabetical order.
That puts the United States 26th in line, between Mongolia and Bermuda. America’s delegation to PyeongChang is the largest in Winter Olympics history: 241 athletes (133 men, 108 women). Luger Erin Hamlin was selected to lead Team USA as flag bearer in the Parade of Nations.
Russia has technically been banned from the PyeongChang Games as punishment for doping allegations. But approved athletes — 168 of them currently — can still compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).
15 — Sports at this year’s Winter Olympics.
102 — Events at the Games.
3 — Attempts it took for PyeongChang to be selected as host of the Olympics.
$13 billion — Roughly how much it will cost South Korea to host the Games. It’s far cheaper than the $50 billion that Russia shelled out for Sochi.
A tie-breaking coin flip reportedly determined team USA’s flag bearer (Erin Hamlin, luge). Speedskater Shani Davis took to Twitter to criticize the process.
Thursday, Feb. 8
8-11:30 p.m. Team figure skating, men’s and pairs short programs (LIVE); men’s and women’s freestyle skiing moguls, qualifying
8-11:35 p.m. Mixed doubles curling, U.S.-Switzerland; men’s downhill training (LIVE); men’s luge training
11:35 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Mixed doubles curling, U.S.-South Korea (LIVE)