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Pyeongchang 2018: Your verdict

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Yes, it is verdict time again! Mine will follow next. What was your impression of the Pyeongchang 2018 Games?

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It‘s a double-edged sword for me:

From German sports perspective, it was spectacular two weeks, as not only the usual suspects delivered, but also there were more positive moments than disappointments, in particular Savchenko/Massot and Ice Hockey of course. And for the Czech part of my family, the Ledecka story was of course amazing.

Overall, everything also seemed to run smoothly without big drama after the initial weather problems.

Double-edged however because the IOC obviously does want to give Russia absolution asap after the Games and I‘m in general cautious if really everyone, Russian or not, except for those few that got caught really is clean. Lack of atmosphere and audience with many events was noticeable too, and I have my doubts about legacy as well. I‘m also very sceptical that there will really be sustained progress between North and South once everything is over and the cameras are off again.

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Not bad. Not great. But a fine edition to the Winter Olympics. I think what bugged me the most were those empty seats, and lack of natural snow. CBC broadcasting could've been a little better, but if you missed something on TV, just go to the website. I did like CBC's VR app. Felt like being there. Maybe it was because of the VR there were empty seats ;). I contacted CBC via twitter about an hour ago. I asked them how long clips would be up. They responded until Aug 8. So if you guys in Canada missed anything, got plenty of time to watch or rewatch!

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Alright, here's mine:

Overall, I found these Games far more enjoyable than I originally expected. I felt absolutely no excitement and anticipation before these Games, due to the scandals surrounding the sports world and the IOC and also due to the location of these Games. I expected very lacklustre Games. But I was wrong in several regards.

First of all, my verdict is of course influenced by the very strong showing of Team Germany. 14 gold medals means the biggest gold haul in their Winter Olympic history, and a total of 31 medals means a strong increase compared to the rather disappointing Sochi Games (19 medals). I sometimes thought that even if Munich didn't get the 2018 Games, the performance of "Team D" seemed like one at "Olympics at home", with a home advantage. Of course one could ask oneself if they would have been even stronger if the Games had been held in Munich, but nonetheless, it's a fantastic result. It was particularly great to see how the German ice hockey team surpassed even its own expectations and almost even became Olympic Champions, Aljona Savchenko finally winning her long-desired gold medal and the return of Germany as strong bob nation, including the surprise victory of Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz. Of course, there are weak spots - alpine skiing and cross-country skiing clearly in particular, but also the freestyle and snowboard events -, but even winter powerhouse Norway was not successful across the board.

Secondly, I was impressed of how smooth the Games went. Apart from the strong wind, there never was any report about glitches. Koreans seem to be great organisers, and the venues were state of the art as well.

The venues, on the other hand, are also a significant weak spot of these Games. The future of many of those venues looks dire, in a country that - once again - gained most of its medals in speed skating and short track. Pyeongchang could have been a great start for more sustainable Games, for example by awarding the sledding events to Nagano or Sapporo or even a non-Asian venue. The construction of the Olympic Stadium is another one of these farcical decisions. And the drama around the ski course in Jeongseon with the cutting down of century-old trees just for a few weeks of sports competition will always leave a sour taste in one's mouth when one will remember Pyeongchang 2018. When I watched the Games, I couldn't help but imagining those now brilliantly maintained, modern venues in disrepair and decay, just like in the pictures we saw from Athens, Beijing, Rio etc.. And yes, even if that sounds like sour grapes: But this would have been a whole lot different if these Games had been awarded to Munich. I visit Munich regularly because my boyfriend lives there now, and I've also visited the Olympic Park several times already. It's amazing how it still is a vibrant centre of recreation, sports, concerts and other events after 46 years - so Munich could have been the first chapter in maybe more sustainable Olympic Games, something that could have reconciled the criticial publics in Western democracies with the Olympic Games.

And yes, the atmosphere was another weak spot of these Games - but it wasn't quite as bad as I feared. Venues seemed to fill more easily after a few days and there was more cheering than we experienced during the opening ceremony. Regarding the lack of spectators at the biathlon venue, Olympic Champion Laura Dahlmeier even praised that because she does not feel comfortable being cheered on by 50,000 spectators. Everyone's taste is different, but after a while, I got used to only weak or mediocre cheering and attendance as well. That doesn't mean that I want a repetition of that in Beijing (although I doubt that attendance will be a lot higher there) or any other future Games. But at least it didn't feel like the catastrophic 2009 World Championships in biathlon where Pyeongchang not only suffered from a severe lack of spectators, but also a severe lack of snow.

This leads me to another topic, the weather. It sure made up a bit for the lack of attendance, because it felt like real Winter Games due to the snow and the icy conditions. The wind and initially harsh cold could have been fatal to these Games, but the organisers can call themselves lucky that after a few days (apart from a short return of the strong winds in the second week), the weather became calmer and milder. In times of climate change, it could have been a lot worse. But who knows? It's not impossible that these were the last real Winter Games (weather-wise) that we ever witnessed.

Then, there's the doping. Of course the organisers can't be blamed for that - but the IOC can. That at least two Russian athletes were brazen enough to dope even after their NOC had been involved in the most severe doping scandal in Olympic history and had been suspended shows that it was a mistake to allow Russian athletes to compete in these Games. The doping culture seems to be rooted deep in that society, and this has to be answered in the strongest possible way. But I don't expect that from a weak corrupt organisation like the IOC. Of course this doesn't give the athletes from other countries pause - the suspicion is always there, and they have to be watched closely, too. I'm fairly certain that today's medal table won't look the same in a few years' time.

Politics, luckily, didn't play that much of a role - even if one could get a wholly different impression after all the fuss around the joint march of the two Korean teams in the opening ceremony, the handshake between Moon Jae-in and the sister of Kim Jong Un and those dreadful cheering North Korean girls at the venues. That topic lost a lot of media attention, and I'm glad about that. It would have been unbearable if Kim Jong Un could have abused these Games as a propaganda event for his regime.

The opening ceremony was pretty neat and enjoyable, so I'm looking forward to the closing ceremony that takes place in less than two hours.

So what's my mark for the Pyeongchang Games? I would give it 7.5 out of 10 points - that means that these were good and enjoyable Games, but still quite far away from being unforgettable and highly atmospheric Games like Lillehammer or (at least to a high degree) Salt Lake City and Vancouver. Pyeongchang and South Korea were friendly, albeit quite restrained hosts. They did a great job as organisers and created a stage for some unforgettable sports moments. And it sure did not feel like a big mistake of the IOC to award these Games to Pyeongchang - even if, as I said, Munich could have delivered a more atmospheric and sustainable event. So I will keep rather positive memories of Pyeongchang 2018, and compared to my initial attitude towards these Games, this is a huge step forward. Well done, Pyeongchang - well done, Korea!

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Well, I'd already done a potted version of my verdict elsewhere here earlier today, but tradition is tradition, so thanks Olympian for giving the opportunity to expand on that.

I really hadn't been focusing on the Olympics much in the lead-up to the games either, so it was really a pleasant, almost surprising, diversion to find myself immersed in the Olympic spirit again. It felt like coming back to the family home for a nice visit again (and, BTW, nice to see some of the old GamesBids clan return to the board for the occasion). And it was even like a more relaxed return to the games, as I wasn't observing quite as microscopically as I have most of the recent games since I joined GamesBids. 

As I gave to the OC, I also would rate the Games overall as a good and solid A.

To repeat what I'd posted earlier: They’ve been pretty good, well organised, lacking in major scandals, engendered a bit of positive and hopeful news out of the Korean Peninsula after a year of anything but, been more focussed on the events rather than extraneous issues and at the end more positive in spirit than many. 

There weren't as grandiose or spectacular as Sochi, and in this day and age that's a good thing. They were modest, when the Koreans really had no constraints on going more lavish if they'd wanted. As to crowds or snow - well, I'll just reiterate what I've also argued elsewhere - it's not like past WOG hosts never had either of those issues, or that PyeongChang set a new low bar in either of them either.

From a Team OZ perspective... I miss our run of Gold Medal Winter Games from 2002-2010. But we equalled our haul from 2014, so not too bad, I guess.

In all, like any Olympics, sorry to see them close so quickly. Really looking forward to Tokyo now. And while Beijing 2022 is one of the few host choices I've really despised over the years, PyeongChang now has me cautiously looking forward to them with optimism as well. Cross fingers China can learn from Korea and resist the urge to go overboard  with one-up manship.

For me at least, still got two more Games coming up in a great time zone for my viewing. 

Oh, and Olympian. Yes, it’s natural to ponder what might have been. I think it’s a fair bet to say that many in the IOC are kicking themselves that they didn’t go to PyeongChang four years earlier or left it till four years later. But from the perspective of 2007, Russia then seemed like a solid, even logical choice. And by the 2022 vote they’d dug themselves in a hole. In hindsight, it may well have turned out differently if they’d known what was ahead - and I would probably be in Munich now attending my first winter games.

Edited by Sir Rols
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A solid Olympic Games. I'd give it an A. 

Lots of highlights and underdog stories to remember such as Germany's run in the men's hockey and the U.S. Men's Curling Team winning gold. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir was my favourite moment in figure skating but my highlights of the Games were USA's unlikely Gold Medal in curling and the USA-CAN Women's Gold Medal game. Shootouts shouldn't decide a Gold Medal Match. 

Despite postponements in the Alpine Skiing due to winds on the first week, organisation was flawless and perfect. It was a better Olympics than Sochi four years ago. It is the first Winter Olympics held in Asia outside Japan. 

For my home nation, we equalled our record at Sochi with 3 Medals (2 Silver and 1 Bronze) with my favourite Australian moment being Scotty James taking on Shaun White in the Snowboard halfpipe on Wednesday, 14th February. 

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These Games were a wonderful pick me up after the organizational mess known as Rio. I shouldn't be surprised because the winter games always seem far more enjoyable than their big brother. I think that is because, at least in the case of American athletes, the winter athletes generally are far more likable than the summer games with its fair share of egomaniacs. These Games were impeccably organized and well-staged. As for empty seats, there were many empty seats at Seoul in 1988 as well as many of the World Cup matches staged in Korea in 2002, maybe the tickets were overpriced or maybe Koreans just do not flock to events unless there is a decent shot of Korean success.

The Games also looked terrific (well, other than the bare patches of ground, but we saw that in Vancouver and Sochi, and we'll see them in 2022.). The venues were nicely dressed and that made for a festive looking event. The television presentation by OBS was first-rate and the camera work in many cases was beyond expectation.

Thirty nations won medals. Belgium, Hungary, New Zealand, Spain, Liechtenstein, nice to see you back on the table after being gone for quite some time. his was the third straight Games that we had no first-timer, and I have to struggle to think who the next one might be. I hope we will not see the numerous changes that we have in recent Games.  Great to see the American gold breakthroughs in cross-country and curling.

The talent on display at the Games was astounding, It is fascinating to how some of the sports have evolved over the past decade. As usual, it was the athletes who stole the stage and shoved all the extraneous garbage aside. Thanks to the athletes for reminding us what the Games are really about and why we, even if we do not agree with the people who run the show, should give the competitors our rapt attention and support. 

I've been an Olympic junkie since 1980, and, even after 38 years, it is never easy to see the Games come to an end. There is always a certain emptiness for me when the emotional investment into the Games is gone. I will try something different though as I have saved most of the medal ceremonies on my DVR and I will watch a few each day before work just to get my day off to a positive beginning.

It was a very enjoyable few weeks. I am glad that the Games have helped to restore some of our members' enthusiasm for the Games. I've missed a lot of you.

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a very fun winter games with lots of breakout sporting moments, thrills and surprises. the focus was exactly where it should be: on the athletes, and that's thanks to south korea's excellent organization. no green pools or half-finished village rooms, just 100 percent smooth. was it the best thing ever on par with vancouver or the now-mythically flawless lillehammer? no, but close enough.

week one weather was a small blight but is par for the course in alpine sports. probably threw shiffrin off her game a little but who cares, really. not a whole lot of downsides, except (to be fair to tulsa's inane ramblings) they did build a lot of pointless venues. again, that's basically what you signed up for when you big for the olympics before 3-4 years ago when the IOC became desperate. the only problem in korea's case is those venues are horribly ugly eyesores. strip them for parts, i say. that hideous big air venue was not TV friendly and the sliding track was only marginally better.  and what was the deal with building everything next to a highway?

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Bravo, Korea.  Well done.  Good to have an Olympics without all the negative press in the lead up and - not surprisingly - fears about what North Korea might do were completely unfounded.  I was as amped up for these Olympics as I can remember (thank you, Olympic Channel) and I was starting to feel some fatigue earlier this week, but what a pick-me-up I got from the Diggins/Randall race (stayed up all night for that one), the women's hockey win over Canada, and topped off by the run by Shuster and the U.S. men's curling team.

So many great stories from these Olympics and almost all of them focused on the competition and the athletes.  And not just the stars like in Rio where it was all about Phelps and Bolt, but a little of everyone.  Some expected wins and other complete surprises.  As many have noted, the Games were organized and run well.  The images, while not the most spectacular, will provide lasting memories.  Yes, there were the delays the alpine and snowboarding venues and some empty seats at the arenas, but that paled in comparison to all the positives.

Thank you to the organizers and to the athletes, and yes to everyone at NBC who brought us all the sights and sounds from these Olympics.  And unforgettable 2 1/2 weeks!

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Two things I have to give thumbs down on. The social media attacks Kim Boutin got from Koreans, and our three idiots pulling a Ryan Lochte, getting drunk and stealing the Hummer. The coach that was involved in that happened to be Nancy Greene's son. How stupid can you be.:angry:

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It sounds silly, but it feels almost like the Olympics are back. For the first time since 2012, I don't feel a sense of almost relief that the Games & negative stories will stop - only the usual sadness that the action has finished again. Korea hosted what was, really, a drama-free games, & you can't ask for more than that. How nice too that the only geopolitical story to come out was one of ending war rather than starting it.

It's funny, the Olympics have been in holes before, but they always survive. I'm sure the next 3 summer cities will do what's needed, so as long as the IOC can keep Beijing on a tight spending leash, & get at least one of the big 3 candidates for 26 to actually come through, this could be something of a turning point. The IOC should have bought itself enough time to solve the Summer problem - especially with 3 cities they can be confident in. Play their cards right, & they could yet save the Winters too. 

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The hosts did a grand job - well presented - good ceremonies and loved the "look of the Games". The venues were spectacular especially the sliding and ski jump venue - I just don't see how their legacy will pan out and it does all seem to be a huge waste of money in that direction.

For me the games suffered from a lack of "atmosphere" on TV - low crowds and I wasn't really keen on the BBC coverage with the main team based in Media City Manchester. For me the games also suffered due to the time zone (all action taking place in the small hours and when I was at work) and in winter I just can't gather the energy together to stay up late in to the wee hours. The BBC coverage seemed to revolve around curling and was slightly nationalistic and bombastic - the hyping up of poor Ellise Christie being a good example.

The next two games are all in the same time zone give or take an hour - so not desperately enthused about those either and I guess it is just one of those things. 

Well done Korea and roll on Tokyo!

 

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The only thumbs down was the local TV coverage from Channel 7 Australia. No Bruce McAvaney and Johanna Griggs (whom are present with 7 in all Olympic Games when 7 have the rights including Rio 2016) and constant replays of figure skating while other events are on. 7 could've used its secondary channels 7Two and 7mate to provide supplementary coverage like what they did in Rio. 

Overhyping of Aussie gold medal potentials such as Brit Cox (Moguls) only for them to win silver was another thumbs down. Don't like to hear commentators overhyping potential medallists at all. 

Tokyo 2020 will be the best timezone for Australian viewers for a Summer Games since Beijing with the time zone being 1 hour behind of AWST and 1 hour ahead of AEST. 

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From the comforts of my couch and television, the Pyeongchang Olympics came across to me as one of a smaller, intimate Games.  There's probably a few reasons I felt that:

1) The smaller mountains in Pyeongchang compared to the Alps or Rockies just made the Olympics feel smaller and cozier.  It was a nice contrast to some of the more imposing ice-capped mountains of Turin or Vancouver or Sochi.  The mountains I saw on television every day right before the start of events coverage gave off a serene, non-threatening feel, one more in tune with the people, venues and village, rather than the type of mountain that towers over human civilization.

2) The town and resort was smaller.  It's what I imagine Lillehammer or Lake Placid must have felt like (or at least the 21st century version of it).  Even though the ice events took place in Gangneung, the fact that the Games were centered around the mountain cluster of Pyeongchang/Alpensia meant the Games gave off a small town resort vibe.  The village was the Olympics, and the Olympics was the village.

3) No NHL hockey players.  This may be a Canadian-centric point of view, but it seemed like ever since Nagano 1998, the NHL hockey players took center stage at the Winter Olympics.  Professional athletes, multi-millionaires, millions of fans and followers.  I generally love NHL players at the Olympics, but fact remains that circumstances led to them not coming to Korea for 2018.  The absence of NHLers made the Games feel more down to earth, like the way they used to be before the Winter Olympics grew in size.

4) The Games felt compact.  Pyeongchang and Gangneung are so close in distance that going back and forth never feels like you are going on a day trip.  Maybe it was the ease of my television transporting me from one event in Pyeongchang to another event in Gangneung in a matter of a blink of an eye, but having personally taken the actual commute in the past, I can imagine how the athletes and spectators must have felt taking the short drive from one to the other.

All of this gave me the feel of the 2018 Games being a throwback to the past.  The Winter Games as a whole are undeniably getting larger and larger over time, a trend which will surely continue into the future.  I was too young to truly appreciate Lillehammer, and I wasn't around for Lake Placid.  It was nice to experience the feel of a smaller Winter Games at least once in my lifetime.  If places like Beijing, Calgary, Munich and Denver are the wave of future hosts, I'll always have the memory of Pyeongchang giving the smaller Winter Games type of setting one last hurrah.

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A confy edition. Not as memorable as Calgary, Lillehammer or Vancouver, but still, Koreans did an excelent work at organizing this event despite the heavy political shadow which was casted upon the months prior, and I couldn't ask for more. Like many of you have already said, it was good to finally see the focus on the athletes, the real protagonists of these games, rather than politics and organizational slips issues which seemed to have stolen many of the spotlight in both Rio and Sochi, and it was something I was really missing ever since London 2012 (for me, the last truly comfortable edition of the games until now).

We also enjoyed many interesting sport stories which will be remembered for years to come. For Spain, it was also a memorable edition since we managed to break the curse we were carrying since Albertville (the last games where we won medals), and the embarrassment of Muehlegg from SLC 2002. Despite the absence of NHL, the Hockey tournament was still pleasant to watch. Congratulations to the US for winning a gold in Hockey once again after so many years.Ceremonies, despite being short (which was understandable because of weather) were never tedious or boring. Not over the top and spectacular like Sochi and/or Beijing, but today when the Olympic Movement is in big needs of lowering costs, it is a good thing and I hope it sets standards for future Olympic ceremonies, at least for Winter ones. 

Negative aspects? Without doubt, the lack of atmosphere and a more cheerful audience. It was pretty much a repeat of Torino 2006. Then again South Korean people are still relatively new to winter sports. So I hope these games help harvesting a bigger interest on the country for years to come and help them develop as a winter sports nation. Also, the unpredictable weather which caused many delays on the first week but which fortunately calmed down as days went by, and in the end it didn't caused much of the disasters some predicted. Another negative aspect was the lack of spine of the IOC to be more harsh with Russia, specially now that a couple of athletes still dared to cheat (congratulations to the Hockey team for winning their first gold since the Soviet era, though).

Also, I have my doubts about what will happen to the venues after the games. I really hope the SK Government has a good legacy plan. The last thing I want is to read in one or two years about those venues falling into disrepair as it happened to Athens and Rio. 

Overall, I give them a 8/10. Pretty good edition which could had been better if it wasn't by a couple of things, but still did a great job and restored, at least on many of us Gamesbidders, some of the faith at the Olympics which we lost after these two last disastrous editions. I have lots of faith on the Japanese people that they will do a very good and memorable work for Tokyo 2020, so I expect in two years to come we can become once again a very vibrant community.

Thank you all, as always, for the good times. See you in 2020! Oh, and in the Pyeongchang Paralympics. 

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It is hard to gauge because a lot of peoples opinions are tied to how ones own country did. (Canadians in general view Atlanta very fondly for instance but not Sydney or Athens). But the Olympics were low-key and nice. CBC's coverage wasn't the greatest. They've lost a lot of sports commentator talent due to cut-backs, lay-offs and retirements. So what was left wasn't always the greatest.

The crushing disappointment of curling is hard to take. Especially since it wasn't like these were surprise low-ranked Canadian teams Homan is the defending World Champion and Koe is a two-time World Champion with 2 Olympic Gold Medalist on his team. It wasn't like the women's teams in 2002, 2006 and 2010 where skips past their prime got hot at the trials. I think Curling Canada put way too mush pressure on the teams and they cracked. Not allowing Homan to bring her natural alternate in Cheryl Kreviazuk (and yes she is related to the singer) and supplanting her natural coach with Rene Sonneburg was not a good choice. 

Add in Alex Harvery. If that guy had been Norwegian or German or Finnish he'd have 4 medals. He's Canadian and walked away with nothing. Also the equipment issues with bobsleigh was a little disappointing. You'd think OTP would have helped fund the team properly.

Getting so close to 30 medals and coming up short. And I know Canada did really well, but the misses were just so bad. Thankfully so much of the team that won medals are young. There is a lot of potential still across freestyle skiing, short track and snowboarding. 

Beijing will be an interesting comparison. Hopefully they will tone things down a bit. But China's performance was shockingly bad for them. So we might be in for another Russia but with the brains to not get caught.

 

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A couple of thoughts, first from the perspective of a Team Canada fan, and again from the perspective of an Olympics fan.

As a Canadian, a hell of an Olympics. We set a record for number of medals, and bettered our total golds from Sochi. There were medals all around in many sports, the most exciting of which was in luge, where we went from three fourth place finishes in Sochi, to two medals. Not to mention our first luge medals ever. Speed skating also made a tremendous comeback, and there's a bright future ahead on both the short and long tracks. As for team sports, well, it was unfortunate. Utter disappointment in curling. To leave with no medals was pathetic. I stand by my original belief that Rachel Homan is a flake, who performs well domestically but chokes every single damn time on the international stage. The winner take all trials to decide the representatives in curling needs to change IMO. While smart on paper, we run the risk of being left with sub-par curlers like Homan, or Bernard in 2010. It was nice to watch the mixed doubles however, a great new addition to the Games, but I'd love to see more non-traditional curling nations represented next time, as that is the true purpose of the sport. In hockey, the women played very well, and as always the final was a crap shoot against the Americans. For the men, it sucked to see us lose to Germany, but nothing really below my expectations with the lack of NHLers. More on that in a moment. The silver lining to all of this is that we won 11 golds despite winning zero in the team sports, which we normally dominate. A testament to the COC and the great work they're doing developing our winter sport athletes. 

For the Games themselves, I thought Korea did a great job. The weather was against them throughout, but they managed to put on a flawless Games. Unfortunately, I felt as though the Games did fly under the radar compared to the past, perhaps due to the lack of NHLers and big story lines coming into the Games. The combined march with North Korea was historic and great to see, and I truly think such an event could help lead to negotiations between the two sides down the road. It's awesome to watch how, despite the lard-ass sitting in the Oval Office only making things worse, an event like the Olympics can bring people together and strive for peace. I think that Moon is a very strong leader who has taken the correct steps towards conflict resolution despite the lack of proper help from allies like the United States. The Olympics were an important event in his pursuit of that goal. The truly special aspect of the Games was its return to simplicity after the extravagance of the last, making it truly feel like an Albertville or Lillehammer type Olympics. I think this bodes well for future bids from skeptical European nations, who have seen how to properly stage the Games. 

For the NHL, the bargaining power now truly lies in their hands. The IOC has seen how much of a joke a non-NHL player hockey tournament is, and will need to give into their demands in the future. I expect them to want to be in Beijing to tap into such a massive market, as well as 2026 if they go to Calgary, who seem to be the frontrunner. It will be interesting to see what solution is made, as there are concessions that both sides will need to make. 

 

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5 hours ago, ofan said:

To leave with no medals was pathetic. I stand by my original belief that Rachel Homan is a flake, who performs well domestically but chokes every single damn time on the international stage. The winner take all trials to decide the representatives in curling needs to change IMO.

The defending World Champion and only women's team to go undefeated (against a stronger field) to win those World Championships is not a choker internationally. She has made the playoffs at ever WC she has been to and only ever lost to the eventual World Champion. 

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Overall, I enjoyed it. Some great contests and historic performances. The way women's slopestyle snowboarding was handled, however, is a black mark on FIS and the 2018 Games. Both the qualifiers and the finals should have been postponed, not merged together in a makeshift final on a day with wind conditions that could've resulted in severe injury. Snowboarding has become a marquee event, but the old FIS bias is still apparent.

That aside, I'll give the overall experience a thumbs up.

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The PyeongChang Games was better than I anticipated. Of course, NBC's live coverage of the games was alright and the US medal count damped expectations and winning 9 gold medals for the third straight Olympics shows how the US still needs a little bit more to do like win a medal in biathlon. The hockey competition was lackluster to say the least, I hope the IOC and the NHL will compromise before Beijing seeing the mistake they made. All in all, these games were okay and they were no where spectacular like Lillehammer, Salt Lake and Vancouver. But, I'm afraid that the price tag for Beijing four years from now, will be a lot worst than Sochi's to the point that nobody will bid for a Winter Olympics in 2034 and beyond.

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Just now, Chrishigh765 said:

The PyeongChang Games was better than I anticipated. Of course, NBC's live coverage of the games was alright and the US medal count damped expectations and winning 9 gold medals for the third straight Olympics shows how the US still needs a little bit more to do like win a medal in biathlon. The hockey competition was lackluster to say the least, I hope the IOC and the NHL will compromise before Beijing seeing the mistake they made. All in all, these games were okay and they were no where spectacular like Lillehammer, Salt Lake and Vancouver. But, I'm afraid that the price tag for Beijing four years from now, will be a lot worst than Sochi's to the point that nobody will bid for a Winter Olympics in 2034 and beyond. The performances of Shaun White and the Czech woman winning 2 gold medals in alpine skiing and snowboarding and last but not least, the US woman's Hockey team finally winning gold 20 years after Nagano those are the memories I'll take with me and now, On to Tokyo!!!

 

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11 hours ago, Faster said:

The defending World Champion and only women's team to go undefeated (against a stronger field) to win those World Championships is not a choker internationally. She has made the playoffs at ever WC she has been to and only ever lost to the eventual World Champion. 

Yeah sorry I didn't know that until i read your post after. I was looking more to her previous experiences in world championships. It could be more of an indication of the rest of the world catching up, but I just felt as though she lacked that "clutch gene" that we saw in the oh so steady and confident Jennifer Jones and her team throughout the last Olympics. 

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Pyeongchang 2018. What a memorable Olympics. And not for the reasons plaguing many of the recent ones. I am very pleased with Pyeongchang and how the Olympics turned out as a whole. As many of us on here feel, it was important that these Games took a stark turn away from the direction of the previous two, and I am very happy to say that they did. The easiest thing for me to do would be to do a pros/cons list to resist sounding repetitive.

 

 

 

 

 

Pros

  • The organization. What a thumbs up to the Koreans. The organization of these Games seemed impeccable, and those working the events, from paid workers to volunteers, seem to contribute so much to the success. I have only heard good stories. Nothing but praise for the organization of these Games.

  • Ceremonies. While some considered them dull, or too techno, I think they were both very good for South Korea and showed what their country was, what it is now, and where it is headed. This was exactly their goal. I enjoyed the Closing Ceremony much more than the Opening Ceremony, I felt like they had worked out kinks and were able to do so much more (ie the live drone experience instead of the pre-recorded one). The addition of the performing KPop groups was also great, it seemed to be an amazing representation of the Korean popular culture.

  • Venues. Although small compared to Vancouver and Sochi, many of the venues very practical and plain, but served their purpose. I enjoy this model much more than the wild Sochi areas and the originally proposed bicycle helmet stadium for Tokyo 2020. Also a good model of sustainability for future hosts, more expensive does not always mean better.

  • The feel. I really enjoyed the return to a small town Olympics, the first of this kind since 1994. After years of big city/tourist-centered Olympics, it was great to return to a small valley where the Games seemed to naturally come together. The coastal arenas and snow trails were not too far off of each other, and this proved very helpful in the successful organization and presentation of the Games.

  • The stories. For once in a LONG time, the stories of these Olympics will not be ballooning costs and negative politics. The prime stories of these Olympics revolve around the athletes, and their conquests, and it was nice to return to that. Of course North Korea will always remain a part of the narrative, but in my opinion, after the first week, that all faded off. The only piece of political headline likely to follow the Games si the unified team entrance, and that’s not too much of a bad thing.

  • The look. Again, I really appreciated the less glamourous look that Sochi and Vancouver had started, it was nice returning to a larger focus on the athletes and the entire Olympic movement than the host nation and their own self gratitude.

  • Team South Korea. What a feat to win the first ever curling and sliding medals for your host country, in your country. Both of those venues were doomed to become white elephants as well, so hopefully the athletic conquests will allow for those arenas to have life breathed into them long after the Olympics are over as more take interest.

  • Message of Peace While the presence of North Korea could be debated by many, it seemed to provide an amazing example of the Olympic spirit that echoed throughout the entire Games. Like Rio’s focus on the environment, it was nice to add the theme of peace to the Games, that not only touched on problems Korea faces at home with those up north, but problems that affect us all as a planet.


 

Cons

  • NBC for Americans. God Katie Couric was annoying. And the TV broadcasting focus was rather annoying as well. I understand as Americans, we all love a 20 minute snippet of how a small town skier from the US made it to the Olympics, but did those have to be broadcasted during the primteime coverage as events took place? I noticed multiple times when Team USA videos and promos were shown as athletes from other countries competed, and stopped when the Americans or famous athletes went to compete. I understand why it’s done though, because a figure skater from Slovakia doesn’t bring views, but it was annoying from an Olympic enthusiast perspective.

  • Legacy Plan. Although I stated above that I am hopefully those certain arenas find future purposes, the legacy plan was not stressed during the bidding process, so at the moment, many venues don’t serve particular longterm purposes. As a supporter of sustainable Olympics, I cannot support the lack of a legacy plan.

  • Lack of Attendance. The problem seriously plagued these Olympics, but not to the proportion many predicted. The Koreans showed out to events they had a good chance of getting a medal in, but not to the traditional European sports, like Downhill skiing. While they claimed over 90% of the tickets were sold, it did not appear that way on TV. Certainly not a good image for future hosts. However, I heard it was the same in 1988 and 2002 for the Summer Games and World Cup, and that’s okay. At this point, Korea has staged every large international competition, they can decide for future bids what will be the most profitable. The Winter Olympics *appeared* to be the least.

  • Removal of sacred trees. Although inevitable for the construction of a proper downhill run, it is understandable why there was significant backlash to this.

 

At the end of the day, I’m walking away from Pyeongchang 2018 optimistic as hell for the future. The Koreans put on an amazing show in some great venues, organized by some amazing individuals. I can concur with above posters that I feel that “the Olympics are back”. For the first time in years, I feel as though we’re moving in the right direction, back towards Calgary 1988 and Barcelona 1992. As stated, these Games are leaving me a feeling of hope. A hope that the Koreans develop a winter sports culture in wake of these Games. A hope that the Olympics leave a positive economic legacy on the country and region. A hope that 20 years down the road, they are looked back on as a positive moment in expressing Korean culture globally. Although it is difficult to determine a legacy now, I can hope that it will be positive. A lot will depend just much the Koreans and nearby Asian nations pick up skiing and snowboarding, and continue to visit the region after the international attention is turned away. Hope only goes so far, though, so I will continue to follow up with Pyeongchang once the Games are over and see how the Games really affected the local area.

 

Not going to lie, I am hoping for another Seoul summer bid. Seoul made an amazing host in 1988, and Pyeongchang also proved successful in 2018, despite the lack of winter sports interest in the country before the Games. Korea has proven an amazing host for international sporting events, and I cannot be anymore happy with the organization of the event. My god was it such a good change from Rio 2016. All in all, I would place Pyeongchang 5th on my list of the All-Time best Winter Olympics with a score of 82/100, falling behind Vancouver(95/100), Lillehammer (93/100), Calgary (88/100) and Salt Lake City (86/100). That says a lot to me, especially considering I went in with lower expectations. What a surprise I was in for.

 

Again I say, thumbs up Korea.

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I really enjoyed these Games, first on TV and then flying to Seoul and spending five days there.

Mascot: a very good one, not as facetious as Hero the Hedgehog but very present at all venues, and interacting with the public

Transportation: well organized, regular and dense Olympic bus network. Maybe a bit too specialized so that you had to change like four-five times to go from your hotel in Gangneung - if you could find one - to the mountain venues. The regular city bus network was free, but had limited working hours, was not working late so if coming from a late hockey match the final item of your daily routine could be a very long walk. Otherwise the taxis (alternate solution) were relatively cheap and could drop and pick you quite close to the Gangneung Olympic park North and South Gates. The KTX was the most convenient transport from Gangneung to the mountain venues (Jinbu train station), I finally found out. Not free like in Sochi, but relatively inexpensive and fast (about 20 min between Gangneung and Jinbu) compared to the Sochi - Adler - Krasnaya Polyana railway.

Gangneung Olympic Park: Four venues, all brand new except curling plus a stadium which could have hosted the ceremonies without problem (why ?). Special mention for the toilets with brand new white soap bars every morning (Korean do not like soap dispensers ??). The blue plastic seats in the venues were reasonably comfortable. Seat and gate numbering was sometimes confusing, since there were often gates closer to your seat than the one indicated on your ticket. Pretty boring house of Tokyo 2020. Access to House of Beijing 2022 needing to perform on line registration three days in advance and provide your passport #. I hope it does not announce the modus operandi for these Games... Nice food and ambiance at House of Canada. Packed full superstore and McDonald's as usual.

PyeongChang Olympic Park: larger than the Gangneung one, but without real venue, only the stadium, the Medal plaza, shops, exhibits and restaurants. A bit sad and too large for its function. I am sorry that the figure skating medals are no longer given in the venue but are now on the plaza like the other sports. When you have attended a figure skating competition, you are not going to drop everything to do a 3 hour trip to PyeongChang for the medal ceremony.

Connected : free wifi in all venues, was working very well, even the outdoor ones. Maybe a bit distracting for some younger spectators. Saw a lot looking their iPhone or posting on social networks instead of actually watching the athletes... For some reason you had to switch off/reset the iPhone when going to another venue, the phone was not recognizing the wifi from a second venue when you had connected to a first one beforehand.

Attendance : most of the venues where I went (hockey, speed skating, short track, figure skating, nordic skiing) where packed full. Alpine skiing (giant M) was half full as well as bobsled for 2. I suspect that the arenas were fuller during the second week than during the first week. Mostly Korean people in Gangneung, with a small contingent of Europeans, Canadians, Russians and Japanese. More foreign people in the mountain venues I felt.

Other amenities: Loved the distribution of free heater packs and free flags from your home country. Unfortunately French flags were given out before I arrived. Food at the venues was ok but un-Korean : tuna sandwiches, sausages, hot dogs, nachos with cheese, etc.

Volunteers : for me the highlight of the Games, always smiling, always helpful, I would have like to hug each of them individually, but they were far too many. And of course they survived thanks to the heaters pack they constantly had in their hands. Their mastering of English was sometimes limited but then Google translate is your friend.

Security : ok but not invasive, no military guys everywhere, like in Sochi. Lots of very young policemen and women. Waiting time are security control was short. All the Olympic Park in Gangneung was in the same security perimeter.

Overall I would put them from my spectator experience at the level of SLC. Not out of this world like Lillehammer but better than Torino for sure. Sochi is a special case for me because as a spectator it was wonderful, but there is the context, these Games nearly killed the Winter olympics. Also a factor to consider is that due to better health and higher salary available I could go to more events (up to three a day) than in Sochi or Torino.

As said by others, congratulations to Korea and to the volunteers for excellent Games, indeed Games as they should always be. I have been following Korean bids on GamesBids since the first one for the 2010 Games and it was a great satisfaction to see them delivered so well.

Edited by hektor
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