In a tense and windy place, Winter Olympics come to PyeongChang, South Korea

In a tense and windy place, Winter Olympics come to PyeongChang, South Korea

In this place of winter beauty, where meadows host sheep, where the cuisine is rooted in the Earth, and roads have mastered mountains, it seems fitting these games of the 23rd Winter Olympics are in the Alps of Asia, in South Korea, in a place called PyeongChang. Here, on alpine heights, a ski jump towers on a mountain. At a resort where skiers now play, the likes of Shaun White and Gus Kenworthy will take to the slopes to playfully flip and jump the freestyle way. And 17-year-old Chloe Kim could be the youngest American to medal in snowboarding. Snow will fall here, maybe not all from the heavens, but at the hands of humans. This region sits at a lower altitude and just doesn’t get much snow. But the air is cold, perfect for making it. From mountain heights, the games go to the sea, the East Sea and the coastal city of Gangneung. Here, the journey will be short, a walk from hockey to skating. Inside this arena, what’s concrete becomes ice. Soft for figure skaters, jumping and landing. Skaters like 18-year-old Nathan Chen, master of quadruple jumps. Then the ice melts and gets remade for short track speed skating, which needs harder, faster ice. Getting to these mountains will take a different kind of speed, on a fast train built for the occasion. An hour and a half from the capital Seoul, where many spectators will stay. Some 100,000 are expected daily, though ticket sales have been slow. We have about 6,500 athletes, coaches, entourage and officials that are coming to the Olympic Games. And we’re hoping they’re going to say this is a really great competition. It is the greatest games on Earth. I’m walking where ski jumpers will walk on the way to their jump. Up there. Way up there. One thing you’ll notice about PyeongChang is the wind. It’s going to be a factor both for competitors and for visitors. The Olympic Stadium seats 35,000. It’s where the Games begin and end. The opening and closing ceremonies happen here, where the wind whips and there’s no roof. The air is brisk and so is the speed of the program, so spectators aren’t sitting for hours. Also not staying long, the stadium. If it looks temporary, it is. After the Games, it will be reconfigured. The seats removed and the structure partially demolished. What’s left becomes an Olympics museum. These games happen in the shadow of two headlines. Their flag may fly today but Russia as a team is not here, though some athletes are. The country that hosted the last Winter Olympics four years ago is banned for doping. A different kind of tension is some 50 miles to the north of here, the border of North Korea. The South is calling these Olympics the peace games. And they may just be that. In a surprise move, North Korea is here, its athletes competing, and marching under a single flag with the south. At this PyeongChang dumpling shop, no worries about simmering tensions. The world is descending on the Alps of Asia, and it’s happening right across the street.

15 Replies to “In a tense and windy place, Winter Olympics come to PyeongChang, South Korea”

  1. Hell, I'm ready to watch the north Korean supreme leader/God in the Olympics all himself..he don't need to send no athletes..he is the very best at everything..???????..he can win ever competition gold medal all by himself ?

  2. It is not a bad thing that North Korea is joining with South Korea for the games and it could lead to even better negotiations between the two nation. I hope so.

  3. The cynic in me does not believe that fat, little, square headed maggot that the NK's call dear leader, is going to continue with the reconciliation, thing. He is a Despot, Tyrant and Murderer. He is also God to his people. I hope the NK's brought their sphincter clenching team. I reckon they are a ' a lay-down missaire' for the Gold. A National Sport in NK.

  4. What tense??? Don't try to puff up the fake news and try to raise tension doesn't even exist in Korea. It's always been only 1 Korea republic. North Korea is not even a country in our eyes… North Korea is just part of one partial state of Great Republic of Korea. Just like the Brits call their country United Kingdom of Great Britain; United Kingdom of Great Korea! We all have to accept Korea Republic as one of the strongest nation when they are 8th richest country in the world, you bozos (WP)…

  5. 殺人未遂オリンピック
    殺人未遂 バスはわざと先行って選手置き去り

  6. Well.. Don’t distort the truth. Theses days not only the countries but also western press is lying~ Criticize, not blame.

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