The games are well underway in PyeongChang and we have been treated to some exciting events already and have seen 72 Medals already handed out to some very happy athletes! Germany are currently top of the medal table but it is early days and Netherlands, Norway, Canada, USA and France are all close behind and will be looking to add to their medal counts in the next few days! The Netherlands and Norway managed to claim clean sweeps on the podiums, Netherlands took the 1,2,3 in the Women’s 3000m Speed Skating and Norway took the 1,2,3 in the Men’s 30km Cross Country Skiing!
On top of all the medals we have seen a few Olympic Records broken on the way! We’ve seen records broken in Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Short Track Speed Skating and more Short Track Speed Skating.
There is one Korean who dominated their event and is inspiring the next generation of athletes to follow her footsteps, Chloe Kim is 17 years old and has won Gold at her first time of trying. The only problem? She is representing USA but with her Korean ancestry we had to mention her! Hopefully her success will bring more Korean snowboarders through for Beijing 2022!
How is Team Korea doing?
So far Korea gave only 1 Gold and 1 Bronze but there are many more events to come! The Gold was won in spectacular fashion in the Men’s 1500m Short Track Speed skating, Lim Hyo-Jun took the lead with two laps to go as his team mate, Hwang Dae-Heon, crashed out. Once in the lead there was no catching him as the 12,000 spectators in attendance cheered home the Korean for their first medal. The follow day Kim Min Seok won a bronze medal in the 1500m Speed Skating event and gave promise of more medals.
Hearts were broken around the world in the women’s 500m Short Track Speed Skating as Elise Christie of Great Britain and Choi Minjeong of South Korea traded Olympic Records! In the heats Elise Christie set a new record before Choi beat it by 0.002 Seconds! Christie topped that again in the Quarterfinals and Choi took it back in the Semi Finals. This built up an exciting final and a tight contest between the two, unfortunately this was not meant to be as Christie crashed out with a lap to go and it looked like Choi had taken Silver but after a long nervous wait the judges disqualified her! Leaving the two athletes in tears but they will both be bouncing back for the 1000m an 1500m events!
Team Korea have unfortunately not got close in any of the events away from the ice so far despite having hopes of getting close in the Biathlon and Freestyle Skiing. The Unified Korean Ice Hockey Team has sadly been eliminated from the tournament after losing 8-0 to both Switzerland and Sweden. There is still hope of taking something from the tournament as they take on Japan in their final group game. There are a lot of events still to take place including more Speed Skating and Figure Skating where Korean athletes have traditionally done well, 42 of their 53 medals have come from the Speed Skating events!
Winds and Wardrobes
When the whole world is watching you compete you want everything to go perfectly and perform your best. In the Figure Skating it took only a few seconds for Korean skater Yura Min to have a wardrobe malfunction! Competing in her first Olympics she will have been nervous and five seconds into her first routine a clasp on her dress slipped! She continued to skate with partner Alexander Gamelin and had to adjust her dress several times as the dance went on. Yura Min survived the routine without flashing the crowd and managed to finish in 9th place.
Away from all the medals and records the headlines have been drawn to the weather, as you would expect at the Winter Olympics the temperatures have dropped well below zero but unexpectedly the wind has picked up and gusts over 45mph winds brought delays across the mountain events. Alpine Skiing has been delayed twice and the Women’s Slopestyle event was delayed by a day and controversially went ahead despite the Alpine Skiing being delayed further. This lead to a disappointing final, athletes only had 2 runs instead of the usual 3 in the final and only 9 of the 52 runs being successfully completed.
The extreme weather has lead to many people saying PyeongChang is not a suitable place to host the games due to the extreme weathers this area sees, but these are extreme sports created in the most extreme weathers and so far the games have lived up to expectations and have been a joy to watch and we hope they only get better as it goes on!
By Imran Ali