by Andrew Kim

Let the games begin. The XXIII Winter Olympics is officially underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea. A total of 2,920 athletes from 92 different countries will square off in 102 events across 15 sporting disciplines, all in a span of 17 days from February 9-25.

The opening ceremony for this year’s Winter Olympics took place on the eve of February 9 amid frigid temperatures and a windy atmosphere. From the 92 countries that will be competing in the games, the countries of Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore will each make their debuts, ranging in sporting events from cross country skiing to bobsled competition. Team USA, made up of 244 members, is set to compete in the games, whose athletes include Erin Hamlin, American luger who served as USA’s flag-bearer; Lindsey Vonn, the first female athlete to win a gold medal in the Women’s downhill in the Alpine skiing; and Shawn White, two-time Olympic gold medalist. And for the first time in Olympic history, North and South Korea will jointly compete as one nation throughout the winter games as they marched into the opening ceremony under a ‘unification’ flag of Korea carried by an athlete from each country.

The following three days have featured a series of historical moments of the Pyeongchang Games.

•Charlotte Kalla of Sweden claimed the first gold medal in cross-country skiing on Saturday while Norway’s Marit Bjoergen became the most decorated female athlete in Winter Olympics history after finishing in second-place for silver medal and claiming her record-breaking 11th Olympic medal.

•In the women’s speed skating 3,000 meter event, Carlijn Achtereekte from the Netherlands led a 1-2-3 podium sweep for the Netherlands as she claimed the victory over teammates Ireen Wust and Antoinette De Jong.

•Laura Dahlmeier from Germany claimed her first gold medal in the biathlon event. •Redmond Gerard, a native from Ohio, delivered Team USA’s first gold medal of the Olympic Games in the slopestyle snowboard event and became the youngest American gold medalist at age 17.

•Lim Hyo-jun secured Korea’s first medal in the games after edging Sjinkie Knegt of Netherlands to win gold in the short-track speed skating.

•A series of women’s ice hockey games took place in the road to the podium. Team USA defeated Finland 3-1 while their neighbor and friendly rival Canada defeated Russia 5-0. Switzerland eliminated Japan’s hopes of winning a hockey medal after winning 3-1 while Sweden defeated Korea’s first unified hockey team 8-0.

•Team Canada notched a series of accomplishments of their own: one for winning gold medal in the free dance figure skating team event following by a stellar performance from Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue and the second being Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris defeating the Norwegians in mixed doubles in curling to transfer into the final round, where they will square off against the Swiss curling team.

•On Sunday, David Gleirscher from Austria claimed gold in an upset win for the men’s luge after two-time luge champion Felix Loch from Germany stumbled in his final run and finished in fifth-place. In the same event, Chris Mazdzer earned a silver medal, becaming the first American to medal in the men’s singles luge event.

•California native Chloe Kim notched her first gold medal victory in Women’s Halfpipe. •Jamie Anderson of Team USA rallied from early concerns of gusty winds wiping out several contenders to claim her second consecutive gold medal in snowboard slopestyle. •Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA claimed gold in the Women’s Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom.

•Yung Sungbin of Korea claimed an emotional victory and a gold medal in the Men’s Skeleton event in front of his home crowd.

•Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic pulled an upset by claiming gold in the Alpine Skiing’s Ladies’ Super-G by a 0.10 second win over Anna Veith of Austria.

•Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan defended his title and claimed gold in the Men’s Single Figure Skating event.

•Nathan Chen of Team USA fell out of medal contention for the Pyeongchang Games, but he became the first athlete to complete five quadruple jumps in competition successfully.

•Canada and Germany tied for first-place and both nations earned a gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh event.

As of February 19, Norway is in the lead of the medal count with 28 medals, including nine gold medals, followed by Germany with 20 medals, 10 of which are gold. Canada sits in third-place with six gold medals and 17 medals in total while the Netherlands are in fourth-place with six gold medals and 13 medals in total. The Olympic Athletes from Russia are in fifthplace with 11 medals while Team USA is tied with France, Austria and Japan with 10 medals. South Korea, the host nation, has three gold medals and seven medals in total.

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