The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will be held for 17 days from 9 to 25 February 2018 in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, the Republic of Korea.
It will be the first time Korea has hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 30 years after the Seoul Games in 1988.
The vision for the 2018 Games is New Horizons, with the slogan 'Passion.Connected' - refering to a world in which everyone is connected with shared passion for winter sports, a world open to any generation anywhere, anytime, to open new horizons in the continued growth of winter sports.
There will be two central venue clusters in PyeongChang: the Gangneung Coastal Cluster (Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating, Ice Hockey & Curling) and the PyeongChang Alpensia Cluster (Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Ski Jumping, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Skeleton & Luge). Some Alpine events will also take place at Jeongseon Jungbong, while Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard will be hosted at Bokwang Phoenix Park.
Soohorang, the mascot of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, took its motif from the white tiger. The white tiger has been long considered Korea’s guardian animal.
“Sooho”, meaning protection in Korean, symbolises the protection offered to the athletes, spectators and other participants of the 2018 Games. “Rang” comes from the middle letter of “Ho-rang-i”, the Korean word for “tiger,” and is also the last letter of “Jeong-seon A-ri-rang”, a cherished traditional folk song of Gangwon Province, where the Games will be held..
Most of the venues for the 2018 Games have already been put through their paces at Olympic test events.
The PyeongChang Test Events provided a unique opportunity for athletes and officials to familiarise themselves with the competition venues and the host region.
In total, 3000 athletes were expected to participate in the test events – many of them coming to Korea for the first time – as well as 1,000 volunteers.
The first event was the FIS Ski World Cup for Downhill and Super-G at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in February 2016. A 3D video of the Jeongseon Alpine Centre can be viewed HERE.
The Bokwang Snow Park was the first venue to be tested by Australian winter athletes. The Bokwang Snowboard Cross, Ski Cross and Ski Slopestyle World Cups were held in February 2016. Check out a 3D video of the park HERE.
The Big Air test event was held in November 2016 and saw athletes converge at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre. Big Air has been added as a new event to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games programme.
Five Australian Short Track Speed Skaters competed at the PyeongChang Short Track World Cup in December 2016 at the Gangneung Ice Arena, with two claiming top-10 finishes. Deanna Lockett finished eighth and Pierre Boda 10th in their respective second 1000m events.
Two months later, five of Australia’s top cross country skiers converged at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre for the PyeongChang World Cup.
Numerous PyeongChang 2018 hopeful athletes embraced the opportunity to experience the Bokwang Snow Park for the Phoenix PyeongChang Freestyle Ski World Cup, Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup and Ski Cross World Cup during the month of February.
Britt Cox won gold at the Moguls test event in the host city, as did Scotty James in the men’s halfpipe. James’s historical gold not only occurred at the venue for the next Winter Games, but it also secured the 22-year-old the overall 2016/2017 Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup series crown
The Gangneung Oval and Gangneung Ice Arena have also been tried and tested with positive feedback from speed skaters and figure skaters who competed in Korea for World Cup events in 2017
A total of 29 sporting events will be held at the competition venues ahead of the 2018 Games.
Snowboard is the latest snow discipline added to the Olympic Winter Games and is well known for its dynamic, youthful and entertaining features. Ten snowboard events will be featured in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games – men and ladies’ parallel giant slalom, halfpipe, big air, slopestyle and snowboard cross.
Big Air is the most recent addition to the snowboard programme. In Big Air, a competitor snowboards down the slope and performs a series of tricks after launching off massive jumps.
Competitors perform complex tricks such as frontside 1080, backside 1440 and double corks in the air, aiming to attain sizable height and distance as well, all the while looking to secure a clean landing. Many competitions including the Olympic Games also require a rider to do a specific and special trick to win.
National Team event in Alpine Skiing
This race will be conducted as a parallel event to the other alpine disciplines, where Giant Slalom gates and flags will be used.
A team (nation) consists of four competitors (two male and two female). And 16 teams will compete by way of an elimination tournament.
Mass start in Speed Skating
For the speed skating mass start, 28 skaters race for 16 laps in open racing track. During the race, there are three intermediate sprints every 4 laps. At each intermediate sprint, the first three skaters will gain 5 – 3- 1 points. Then, at the last sprint, the first three skaters will gain 60 – 40 – 2- points. The competitors who are the first three to cross the finish line win the race.
Mixed doubled curling
Unlike in the mens or womens curling where teams of four receive 38 minutes of strategy time and each game is scheduled for 10 ends, in mixed doubles teams will be composed of two players – one male and one female.
Each game is scheduled for eight ends and each team receives 22 minute of strategy time. Each team shall deliver five stones per end, and the player delivering the team’s first stone of the end must also deliver the team’s last stone of that end. Prior to the start of every end, two stones shall place at the playing end of the sheet (center guard and back button).
Australia’s participation in the Winter Games
Australia has been represented at all but four Winter Games in the modern era since 1924, winning a total of 12 Olympic Winter medals.
Australia has won a medal at every Winter Olympic Games since 1994 and will be looking to uphold this tradition in Korea.
Australia will be looking to qualify a team of 50-60 athletes across 11 sports.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Australia won three medals. Torah Bright won silver in the snowboard halfpipe, and closing ceremony flag bearer David Morris won silver in aerials freestyle skiing. Four-time Olympian Lydia Lassila won bronze in the aerials freestyle skiing event.
The most recent Australian gold medals were won at the Vancouver 2010 Games. Opening ceremony flag bearer Torah Bright won gold in snowboard halfpipe, and Closing Ceremony flag bearer Lydia Lassila won gold in the aerials freestyle skiing event.
The South Korean city of PyeongChang swept the opening round of voting at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa. Needing a 50 per cent majority plus one, PyeongChang amassed an impressive 63 votes in just the first round of voting. This meant that no further rounds of voting were required; PyeongChang would host the XXIII Olympic Winter Games.