The 2018 Winter Olympic Games: Digest

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January 15, 2018

NORTH KOREAN MUSIC
A North Korean art troupe of 80 musicians and 60 singers and dancers will perform at the Pyeongchang Games. The artists will perform in Seoul and in Gangneung, where other competitions till take place. Expected on the programs are well-known folk and classic songs. North Korea has sent similar art groups to South Korea since 1985; the last such performance was in 2002. The announcement came in the wake of high-level talks between North Korea and South Korea at the border between the two countries. Also attending the talks was one of the North's most well-known artists, Hyon Song Wol, leader of girl group Moranbong Band. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is involved with discussions; officials from both countries are also meeting with IOC officials in Switzerland. North Korea had earlier committed to sending a group of well-known cheerleaders to the Games, to support a limited number of athletes attending.


JOINT HOCKEY TEAM
North Korea and South Korea have agreed in principle to field a joint women's hockey team for the Pyeongchang Games. The International Olympic Committee must approve the plan. It would be only the third joint team at an international sporting event: In 1991, the two countries teamed up to compete in the world table tennis championships and the World Youth Soccer Championship.



January 8, 2018

PRIZES

Winners of medals at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics will also receive a doll, and a wooden gift. The doll represents Soohorang, the Games mascot; each doll's hat color will correspond to the medal color of the winners. Each doll will also wear an uhsahwa, a paper flower. The wooden gift will depict scenes of mountainous PyeongChang and Korean Hangul alphabetic characters that spell out the city and the year of competition.


NORTH KOREAN ATHLETES

The figure skating contingent from North Korea is likely to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The pair of Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik are their country's only athletes to qualify for the Games, winning the bronze medal at the Asian Winter Games, which took place in February 2017 in Sapporo, Japan. North Korean athletes have not always participated in the Olympics, last taking part in 2010, when the Winter Games took place in Vancouver.


RUSSIAN HOCKEY PLAYERS

Hockey players from Russia will be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics despite their country's being banned from the Games. A handful of players will wear red and white "Olympic Athlete from Russia" jerseys and perform under the Olympic flag. If they win the gold medal, they will hear the Olympic theme played at the medal ceremony. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the Russian hockey team has won a silver medal (in Nagano in 1998) and a bronze medal (in Salt Lake City in 2002) and finished fourth (twice), fifth, and sixth. The Soviet was more dominant, winning nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament between 1954 and 1991.



December 10, 2017

RELAY
The Olympic Torch is wending its way across South Korea. After the traditional lighting of the flame in Olympia, Greece, on October 24 and the transfer to representatives of the PyeongChang Olympics, the Torch started its Korean journey in Changnyeong on November 16.

Torchbearers and route planners have included a variety of transportation methods for the Torch, including a ride on a boat and a cable car. The country has long been a leader in cutting-edge technology, and one transfer of the Torch was from one robot to another. Ceremonies accompanying the passage of the Torch have included performances by modern pop stars and by traditional dancers.

The entire Torch route is 2,129 kilometers (1,322 miles). A total of 505 torchbearers carried the Flame around the country, through 20 cities and towns and 36 welcome ceremonies.


AFRICANS ON ICE
2018 Winter Olympics Nigerian bobsled teamNigeria will be the first African nation ever to compete in bobsled at a Winter Olympics, after the women's bobsled team qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The Games run February 9–25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The team of driver Seun Adigun and brakewomen Akuoma Omeoga and Nogzi Onwumere are former professional track and field athletes. Adigun is a national champion in the 100-meter hurdles and represented Nigeria in that event at the 2012 London Olympics.

They are Nigeria's first ever competitors at a Winter Olympics.

Nigerian athletes have completed at the Summer Olympics since the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland. Overall, Nigeria has won 25 medals (three gold, 10 silver, and 12 bronze), including a high-profile gold medal in soccer at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Other African nations sending athletes to Winter Olympics include Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo, and Zimbabwe.


RUSSIA
The Russian Olympic Committee has offered its full support for Russian atheltes who wish to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, even though Russia itself will not be represented. The International Olympic Committee recently banned Russia from participating in the PyeongChang Games because of findings that suggested a systematic doping program that stretched back to at least 2011.

Any athletes from Russia who pass a drug test can compete under the name Olympic Athlete from Russia. They would compete under the Olympic flag; any athlete who wins a gold medal would hear the Olympic theme playing at the medal ceremony.

A significant number of athletes from Russia have indicated their willingness to go ahead and compete.

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