The 2018 Winter Olympics are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from February 9, 2018 (2/9/18) to February 25, 2018 (2/25/18). Sports activities embrace determine skating, alpine snowboarding, bobsledding, curling, snow boarding and ice hockey.
Announcers: Mike Tirico and Katie Couric host protection of the Opening Ceremony celebrates the official begin of the XXIII Olympic Winter Video games in PyeongChang. This marks the primary time a South Korean metropolis has staged a Winter Video games; Seoul was the summer season host in 1988.
On the one hand: The world gathers for a scripted, globalized spectacle of competitors and unity. North Korean athletes and performers stream into the rival South for a show of cooperation that perhaps, simply perhaps, may ease anxiousness about potential nuclear struggle. The North’s head of state proclaims plans to go to the South for the primary time. The U.S. vice chairman is stopping by, too.
On the opposite: Indignant South Koreans bump up in opposition to riot police to protest the arrivals. The North’s authorities instantly calls the demonstration a “spasm of psychopaths.” The president of the USA insists that America should grow to be “nice once more” — and goads the North Korean chief on Twitter.
And outward from there it ripples, throughout a planet riven by uncertainty and anger.
That the world is a contradictory and quarrelsome place is hardly breaking information. However on the week that the 2018 Winter Olympics start, tucked away in chilly mountains that loom over one of many planet’s most contentious patches of earth, it someway appears extra so at this second.
When the torch is lit through the opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang’s Olympic stadium on Friday evening, it’s going to grow to be one in every of many flames being fanned around the globe. Few others are anyplace close to as uplifting.
“It is onerous to speak about these Olympics with out taking into account that for all of the fantastic beliefs which can be dropped at thoughts by the Olympic Video games, and rightfully so, proper now the Korean Peninsula is probably the most harmful place on Earth,” says Mark Hertsgaard, writer of “The Eagle’s Shadow: Why America Fascinates and Infuriates the World.”
As its organizers typically say, an Olympics are a chance to sublimate politics into wholesome competitors and present that the world can come collectively for a noble function: an excellence of physique and thoughts produced by onerous work and sheer willpower.
And sure, that is taking place in Pyeongchang even earlier than the Video games start, most dramatically with the joint Korean girls’s hockey crew, which is able to characteristic gamers from the long-divided North and South skating and competing collectively on the identical ice.
However bypassing political bumpiness totally is a problem when the opposite primary level of the Olympics — nationwide pleasure, as seen via the prism of sports activities — can include some severe geopolitical baggage.
That is additionally the primary Video games to happen since Donald Trump grew to become president of the USA in early 2017. And whether or not you like him or hate him, it is clear that he has modified the worldwide dialog via his willingness to be voluble in methods earlier presidents have prevented.
One in all Trump’s hallmarks has been his angle of America first. That has all the time performed to a combined viewers on the Olympics, and this version might be no exception. For all its country-specific fervor, the Olympics is a proudly multilateral occasion going down this yr in a world that, from Brexit to Trump insurance policies, is awash in a burst of unilateralism.
How these two notions combine — significantly with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and North Korea’s figurehead head of state, Kim Yong Nam, each planning to go to Pyeongchang with clear political agendas — will show fascinating.