The past month from 9th to 25th February, we witnessed the 23rd Winter Olympic Games hosted for the first time in the city of Pyeongchang in South Korea. A total of 2952 competitors from 92 national Olympic committees took part in 15 sport disciplines, in total of 102 matches. For the first time, competitors from Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore participated, new sports disciplines were introduced such as Big Air (snowboarding), mass start (speed skating), mixed pairs in curling and mixed teams in Alpine skiing. It is interesting to note that North Korea and South Korea participated under the flag of United Korea and competed with a women’s hockey team, while in all other sports they competed in North Korean and South Korean teams. The Russian Olympic Committee was suspended by the International Olympic Committee for a doping dispute, so individual athletes who qualified for the games and showed that they complied with the doping regulations had to compete under the name Olympic athletes from Russia under the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem.
The entire organization of the Olympic Games cost PyeongChang 13 billion dollars. It is the third Asian city organizer after the Japanese Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998. The official opening of the games was held on February 9th, 2018 at the Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang. The construction of this stadium with a capacity of 35,000 spectators cost $ 100 million and it will be used only for the opening and the closing of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. After the end of March, this year it will be disassembled and sold in parts.
A total of 307 medals were awarded to competitors from 30 Olympic committees. The most successful were the competitors from Norway with a total of 39 medals, followed by Germany, Canada, USA, the Netherlands, etc. Many competitors won several medals in different disciplines. Among them are the Norwegians Marit Bjoergen with 5 medals and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo with 3 medals in cross country, German Francesco Friedrich with a double win in bobsleigh, French competitor Martin Fourcade with 3 gold medals in biathlon and many others. The youngest winner of only 15 years old was Alina Zagitova from Russia in figure skating, while the oldest contestant was Canadian Cheryl Bernard at the age of 51 in curling. A pleasant surprise was given to us by the German ice hockey team who with the victory over Canada, managed to place themselves in the finals where they lost in match with Olympic athletes from Russia in the extra time, but also the South Korean debutant competitors in bobsleigh who managed to get a silver medal. Several new Olympic and world records were also beaten in speed skating both individual and relay.
The Macedonian Olympic Committee represented 3 competitors: Antonio Ristevski in alpine skiing who did not finish his performance in the giant slalom, Stavre Yada finished the qualifying race in the sprint on the last 79th place and Victoria Todorovska finished at 85th place of a total of 90 competitors in cross-country. However, the sports rule says “it does not matter to win, it is important to participate”, it remains to hope that already at the next Winter Olympics which will be held in Beijing in 2022, Macedonia will present a larger number of competitors in many sports disciplines and of course there will be much more success. Finally, we can conclude that in the past month we experienced the unforgettable enjoyment of the Winter Olympics Games that will be forever noticed in sports history.