2018 Olympic Games Head South

2018 Olympic Games Head South

The tower for the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center rises beyond a set of Olympic Rings at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The countdown is on for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics as athletes prepare and political tensions surrounding the games appear to fade.

This year’s games are held in South Korea from Feb. 9-25, but given the proximity to North Korea, political tensions have been high. There had been questions as to whether or not the United States would compete in the games.

“We have not had any discussions, either internally or with our government partners, about the possibility of not taking teams to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” said Mark Jones, U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson, to USA Today.

As of now the U.S. will be attending and competing in this years Olympics.

“I don’t think the tensions surrounding this Winters Olympics are particularly unusual,” said Loren Gatch, political science professor. “Yes, there is the problem of North Korea, but I don’t think that will disturb the games.”

The games were elected for PyeongChang to be the hosting city of the Olympics back in 2011.

“The countries that host the Olympics tend to invest a lot in the sports infrastructure in order to make a good impression on all the international visitors. Beijing in 2008 was a good example of this,” Gatch said. “Various countries compete to be the site of the Olympic games, and hosting the games gives them an opportunity to put their best foot forward.”

The big problem that the International Olympic Committee had to face was the doping scandal with Russia. The Russian athletes who were found to be involved in the doping were banned from the Olympics, but the athletes who passed screenings are allowed to compete.

Those who are allowed to compete will not be allowed to use the Russian flag and the winnings will not be recorded as Russian winnings. The athletes will have to wear neutral colors and be referred to as Olympic Athletes from Russia [OAR].

“That [the doping scandal] has kind of taken some of the gleam off of the games, but the history of the games is that it reflects the political climate of the time,” said Louis Furmanski, political science professor. “That’s because it is a nationalistic event.”

The games held at the Olympics this year will be alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard and speed skating.

The complete schedule can be found on the IOCs website, including the event’s times and competing athletes. The page also shows the results of the events.

According to Time Magazine’s complete Olympic schedule, NBC is beginning primetime coverage the night before opening ceremonies on Feb. 8 with early events.

For students who are looking for a place to watch the games, several restaurants and sports bars around Edmond will be showing the games. Olympic.org also offers the ability to watch the Olympics live from the website.

The website provides information about athletes that will be competing this year, as well as an accessible archive of featured and distinguished athletes from the past. There is also a section that shows how many specific medals Olympians have won before.

As of right now President Trump has not said whether or not he will be attending the opening ceremonies, but vice president Mike Pence will attend with the father of Otto Warmbier, the American student who was jailed in North Korea and died upon returning to America.

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