It’s February and the torch is being passed. Time for some Winter Olympics! This year, the Winter Olympics, a sporting event dating back to the Romans before the games were split into summer and winter games, will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea from February 9th until February 25th. The games will feature athletes from ninety-two countries that will compete in 102 events in seven sports. The Olympics will be able to be viewed on NBC and will actually be viewed live instead of delayed replay.
Olympic games always tend to be my favorite as I feel they tend to have a greater impact than we realize. They change how a country is viewed with the spotlight on them. It becomes more evident how countries deal with each other and how they influence the game. This was visible in the 2014 Sochi games in Russia when the spotlight shone on how Russia had dealt with having the games in their country, from eradicating poorer folks in the town of Sochi, to creating an awful infrastructure to even cheating in the games with steroids.
The Summer Olympics in Rio opened our eyes to the shanty towns along Rio that had been dealt with by building walls to hide them from the influx of tourists in the city.
The games can also serve as an interesting historical reference and can reflect on what had been going on in the world at that time or even specifically that country that time. This is evident from post 9/11 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002 and even the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, Germany during the beginning of the Nazi Regime.
It isn’t entirely clear how the games will affect South Korea. What we do know is that the games have already pushed the country to fund a high-speed train that will take tourists and citizens from Seoul to Pyeongchang in sixty-two minutes rather than two hours. The game is also having an effect on South Korea’s relationship with North Korea as North Korea is having their athletes compete with South Korea’s athletes.
There also have been mumbles of peace talks between the two countries as the event approaches, which is surprising, considering the near explosive dialogue between Kim Jong-un and many nations including South Korea, Japan, and the United States. South Korean politicians and Olympic committee believe that it is important for North Korea to participate in the game because it will keep the games safer.
Even though we try to view the games as a time where the world comes together without all of the politics and that it is about the athletes, that can’t be farther from the truth. The Olympic Games are like a Thanksgiving dinner. There is the idea of the family coming together and enjoying a meal, but there’s bound to be gossiping and fighting and somebody will probably embarrass themselves.
I can probably bet ten dollars that Trump will say something embarrassingly ignorant and racist when he attends the event, but I guess we’ll have to see. Brace yourselves for the opening ceremonies on February 9th.