Train to Watch the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics


Members of Team USA during the 2018 Winter Olympics Celebration Credit: USOC

Bekah Redinger, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea are quickly approaching, and to athletes from “Olympic City, USA,” that means another round of celebrations, cheering, and hoping that Team USA comes out on top.

One way to get ready for the games in Colorado Springs is to attend the PyeongChang Olympic Downtown Celebration! The extravaganza will be held on the night of the opening ceremonies, February 9, from 5:00 to 10:00 PM, at Tejon Street and Pikes Peak Avenue. Activities there will include a live stream of the opening ceremonies, snowmobile jumpers, activities designed for kids, hot chocolate stations, and Korean art presentations. In addition, four-time world record setter and five-time gold medalist in speed skating Eric Heiden will light the Olympic cauldron. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the games with a fun and patriotic spirit, so be sure to attend!

Another way to get ready is to know which athletes you want to support. Not only will you be able to follow the highs and lows of Team USA, you’ll also look like the smartest person at your watching party, able to name the best athletes from our team and where they’re from. To get you started, here are some key athletes to watch on Team USA from Colorado, the state known for bringing up and training talented Olympians.

David Chodounsky, Alpine Skiing: From Crested Butte, this is Chodounsky’s second winter Olympics. Most recently, he placed 15th in slalom in the 2016 world cups.

Mikaela Shiffrin, Alpine Skiing: Shiffrin was the youngest ever gold medalist in slalom in 2014, and is from Eagle-Vail, Colorado.

Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing: One of the more famous Colorado Olympians, 2018 will be Vonn’s fourth Olympics. She’s been injured multiple times over the course of her career, but she always gets back up, a feat which this year earned her a Super Bowl commercial.

Joanne Reid, Biathlon: The daughter of two Olympic gold-medalists, Reid graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder. This will be her first Olympics, but she was 84th overall in the 2016/17 World Cup.

Nathan Weber, Bobsled: From Pueblo West, Weber is a first-time Olympian. He’s also a Sgt. First Class in the U.S. Army and an active duty Green Beret.

Casey Andigra, Freestyle Skiing: Andigra is a first-time Olympian from Boulder, who was not someone that people were expecting to make the team. Notable past experience includes placing third in the FIS Junior World Championships in moguls.

Aaron Blunk, Freestyle Skiing: From Crested Butte, this will be Blunk’s second winter Olympics. In 2017, he won Gold in Halfpipe during the World Championship.

Troy Terry, Ice Hockey: Terry is from Highlands Ranch, and won the 2016-17 NCAA Division I title with Denver University

Almost the entire Nordic Combined Team: Four out of five members from the Team USA Olympic Nordic Combined Team are from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This includes two brothers, Bryan and Taylor Fletcher.

Chris Corning, Snowboarding: Corning, from Silverthorne, earned two medals in the World Championship in 2017. He one day hopes to go to culinary school.

Arielle Gold, Snowboarding: Gold was an Olympian in Sochi in 2014, and also competed in the Youth Olympic Games in 2012. She is originally from Steamboat Springs.

Another way to get ready is to ensure you have an understanding of the city where we’re sending our athletes: PyeongChang, South Korea. PyeongChang is a large county, east of Seoul. The city is mainly known for mountains that draw hikers from around the world, and its two main ski areas that will serve as space for Olympic competitions. PyeongChang has applied to be an Olympic host city twice before in the past, for the Olympics in 2010 and 2014. Even then, their plans for an Olympic village, including nearby housing and an airport closeby, were so outstanding that the International Olympic Committee was impressed, and they were given the honor of being a host this year. On top of that, PyeongChang has hosted the Dream Program, which brings children from tropical and developing countries to the city for lessons in various winter sports, to which they would not have had access otherwise. Some alumni from the Dream Program have gone on to Winter Youth Olympics and Olympic Games themselves, an impressive legacy for the city to have, and even possibly a parallel to Colorado Springs’s own acclaim.

In the midst of trying times, games and ceremonies can bring people together. No matter how we feel about other countries in times of conflict, the Olympics often can bring countries together for a few weeks, and even work on a smaller scale to bring together countries and families in united support of a team or athlete.