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The Winter Olympics Kick-Off in PyeongChang

February 16, 2018

The 23rd Winter Olympic Games began in PyeongChang, South Korea on February 9. Despite recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to a series of missile launches conducted by the North Korean regime, the Games have proceeded as scheduled and have signaled a relaxing of tensions between the North and South.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in officially opened the games in the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium and welcomed ninety-two nations and 2,920 athletes. These Olympic athletes are participating in 102 events spanning across fifteen sports.

At this moment, the United States’ Olympic Team has made history. The first example being professional figure skater Mirai Nagasu. During the figure skating team event, Nagasu, 24, became the first woman from the United States to land a triple axel at the Olympics. She is also one of only three women in history who have completed such a feat in a professional competition, those others being Tonya Harding and Kimmie Meissner.

In addition to Nagasu’s achievement, fellow team-mate Adam Rippon delivered a stellar routine that helped the U.S. attain a bronze medal in the team event. Rippon, 28, is also the first openly gay Winter Olympian in history and has been vocal in his political disagreements with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence. In particular, Rippon has staunchly opposed Pence’s prior support of ‘conversion therapy’ in his 2000 campaign for the Senate.

“I spoke out because there are people out there whose lives have been affected by change that he’s tried to make,” said Rippon. “I spoke out for them because right now I have a voice, and I think it’s really important for me to use it. That’s a conversation for them.”

Aside from the rink, Shaun White made a striking comeback these Winter Games when he won his third gold medal in the Men’s Halfpipe on February 14. White, 31, was able to pull of this incredible achievement in spite of an injury to his face while training in New Zealand that necessitated approximately 62 stiches.  White’s victory was the U.S.’s 100th gold medal over the course of the entirety of Winter Games history.

As of now, the most decorated countries of these Winter Games are Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, and the United States. There are also a myriad of other events to go including curling, figure skating, and bobsleigh.

These Winter Games will close on February 25th and the country to host the 24th Games will be China in the city of Beijing.

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