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A Mom’s Guide to the Winter Games

Growing up, the Olympics were a time to celebrate. At my house, there was not even the possibility of changing the channel: it was round the clock coverage. From the Opening Ceremonies, the events themselves, the stories about local culture, the Inspirational stories about the Olympians themselves (let’s face it, they are awesome) through the Closing Ceremonies, my house was laughing and crying and cheering the Olympians on. This year will be no exception and I can’t wait. This guide has all your need-to-know info as well as some tidbits about the events and games themselves.

Background       

The Olympic Committee, which you may hear of as the IOC throughout the games, awarded this year’s Olympic Games to the city of PeyongChang, South Korea in July of 2011 and the city has been getting ready ever since. South Korea has hosted the games twice, the first time being the Summer Olympics in Seoul for the Summer Games in 1998.  

There is a 14 hour time difference between the US and South Korea, so this year we will actually be able to see more events live during Prime Time viewing hours without the need for a delay or spoiler alerts.

The XXIII Olympiad will host 102 events in 15 sports, making it the first time that there will be over 100 chances to win a Gold medal in any Winter Olympics. There are three types of events: Alpine, Skiing and Snowboarding Events; Ice Sports; and Nordic events.

The Opening Ceremony

As the official start of the Olympic Games, the Opening Ceremonies are full of pageantry and excitement. It is the opportunity for the host country to really show off and tell their story to the world.

The Parade of Nations is where every country enters the stadium with their flags and the majority of their Olympic Team.  This year the US has the biggest team, with 242 people entering the Stadium. The Parade of Nations this year will follow the Korean alphabet with 2 exceptions: during each games, Greece begins the parade (in recognition of Greece as the birthplace of the Olympics) and the host nation ends it. 

So don’t look for Team USA near the end, we are right after Mongolia!  

The Olympic Flame

Lit in Athens, Greece, the Olympic flame is the symbol of the Olympic Games. The torch travels from Greece to the host country, often with thousands of torchbearers. The flame stays lit throughout the games, only being extinguished during closing ceremonies. What happens if the flame goes out? Don’t worry: there are backups that have been lit and it will be reignited from those flames.

Alpine, Skiing, and Snowboarding

The Alpine, Skiing, and Snowboarding events each have different types of events within them:

  • Alpine skiing includes all of the downhill events, like the Slalom and the Super G.
  • Freestyle Skiing has events such as Aerials and Moguls.
  • Snowboarding is comprised of events like Big Air and Half Pipe.

Ice Sports           

Ice Sports are the only events that include both indoor and outdoor events. The outdoor events are Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton. These three are some of my favorite events to watch on TV and to attend live, if given the chance. They are loud, full of life, and all of the fans are always having the biggest party celebrating the games.

While these events really are fun, my heart belongs to the indoor sports: Hockey, Speed Skating, Curling and Figure Skating.

If you have never watched a Curling Match, make this Olympics the time you start! Each match has two teams of 4 players. The teams take a turn at sliding a large, polished granite stone down the ice to the “house,” or target in the ice. The stone’s journey is assisted by the use of brooms (yes, brooms!) with sweepers guiding the stones to the house.

Nordic Events

Nordic Events include the Biathlon, Cross Country Skiing, Ski Jumping, and the Nordic Combined. Cross Country Skiing is the oldest type of skiing and entered the Olympic Games in 1924. The Biathlon combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. Participants cross-country ski and then stop at designated areas and shoot at targets.

The Closing Ceremony

The Closing Ceremony is the official end of the games. It is much like the Opening Ceremony and will be held on February 25, 2018.

The Olympic flag is given from the host country to the next country to host the Winter Games; this year, that will be China, as Beijing will host the next Games in 2022. The cauldron will be extinguished and a larger-than-life party will celebrate all the nations coming together as one for these games.

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