The 2018 Winter Olympics is taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from February 9th to 25th – 35,000 spectators will be gathered in the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium and 13 other venues, to see the world’s top athletes in action.
It was announced in 2011 that Pyeongchang had beaten other bids from Annecy in France and Munich in Germany to host the 23rd Winter Olympic Games. It is the second Olympic Games to be held in South Korea, as the nation also hosted the Summer Olympics in 1988.
The 2018 games follows a long tradition that dates back to 1924, when the first Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix in France. The idea of holding a separate games for winter sports came about because it was felt the Summer Olympics didn’t properly represent all sports.
Figure skating and ice hockey were already Olympic events, but organisers felt sports that traditionally took place during the winter months were at a disadvantage, due to the season. During the 1921 convention of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, after much discussion, the first Winter Olympics was planned for Chamonix in 1924.
The events in those early days were quite limited and included speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey. There are seven sports overall in this year’s Winter Olympics: skiing, skating, tobogganing – known as luge – ice hockey, curling, bobsleigh and biathlon.
Approved by the IOC, there are four new events this year: freestyle skiing, big air snowboarding, mass start speed skating and mixed doubles curling. The luge, biathlon and ski jumping events will take place at night and will be floodlit.
On the last day (Sunday 25th February), the men’s ice hockey final will bring the games to a conclusion – the closing ceremony will then mark the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
One of the oldest sports in the Winter Olympics is figure skating, which made its debut in the summer games of 1908. Great Britain has participated in the Winter Olympics from the onset and has achieved success in the skating events, with figure skater Ethel Muckelt winning a bronze medal at the 1924 games.
John Curry won Team GB’s first gold medal for figure skating in 1976, in the men’s singles at Innsbruck. In 1984, the Brits enjoyed their most famous win, thanks to Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean’s iconic routine in the pairs’ figure skating. The dynamic duo performed to Ravel’s Boléro and won the gold medal.
To the sound of a rapturous applause, they achieved the highest score in Olympic history: 12 perfect sixes and six 5.9s from the judges. They received six from every judge for artistic impression. They also won the bronze medal at the Winter Olympics in 1994, at Lillehammer in Norway.
Great Britain is taking a team of 59 competitors to the XXIII Olympic Winter Games – known as Pyeongchang 2018 – with the squad’s medal hopes including figure skaters Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland. The duo, both aged 28, are going for gold in the ice dancing.
South Korea is nine hours ahead of London, so television viewers in Great Britain will need to stay up during the night if they want to watch the competition live. The games will be broadcast by the BBC and on digital platforms in the UK, as the athletes compete for a total of 102 medals.
Designer Lee Suk-Woo created the medals, which feature 3D consonants from the Korean alphabet in an innovative pattern, symbolising the nation’s culture and the hard work that has gone into organising the games. A budget of $2.4 billion was needed to host the games this year.
As thousands of people flock to Pyeongchang to watch the Winter Olympics, ease of access to the many sports venues is crucial. Sports stadiums and arenas require easy access for all – and this is why automatic sliding doors, such as those designed and installed by Automatic Access, are a popular choice among many such venues. Our sliding doors not only provide smooth access, they are also compliant with disability anti-discrimination laws. Please contact us for further information.