South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics from February 8 till February 25 at thirteen venues. These will be distributed between PyeongChang and Gangneung. The former is the main venue located about 110 miles from Seoul, the capital. North Korea has agreed to participate which is expected to add to the attraction.

Daily Mail UK reports that around 3,000 athletes from nearly 100 nations will be taking part, and compete for a total of 102 gold medals in 15 disciplines. There will be four events that will make their debut to increase the mass appeal, and one of these is Big Air snowboarding.

Preparations are on

The participation of North Korea in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea is an indication that Kim Jong-un is keen to come out of isolation. His country tested missiles and developed nuclear weapons to target the United States in spite of UN sanctions. The aggressive attitude has kept the world guessing. The North had boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea, and its willingness to send teams to PyeongChang means the North wants to tow a different line.

The main venue is in the city of PyeongChang which is an alpine ski resort town with a population of slightly over 40,000. The opening ceremony will be in the $58 million stadium, which is a temporary structure to be dismantled at a later date.

It does not have any roof and the expected crowd of around 35,000 would have to face the bitter cold. Therefore, the organizers have decided to provide hot packs and blankets to the audience.

Los Angeles Times adds that three figure skaters of the United States are expected to be in the quest of gold. One of them is Mirai Nagasu whose parents are from Japan but settled in America 30 years ago.

She made her Olympic debut in 2010 when she was 16, and finished second at the recently concluded U.S. figure skating championships. Other participants, along with Mirai, will be the national champion 19-year-old Bradie Tennell and 2017 champion Karen Chen of Fremont, California. Incidentally, Tennell from Carpentersville, Illinois.

was 2015 U.S. junior champion

Line of communication has opened

Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, wanted to normalize relations with North Korea and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang has presented an opportunity. Reopening of the hotline after two years was a positive sign, and the two sides will be holding official talks on January 9 on not only the games but also on other matters of mutual interest. The meeting would be in the truce village of Panmunjom, and the whole world hopes that it will lead to de-escalation of tension in the Korean peninsula.