Saturday, February 10, 2018

PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Day 1


Records were set and amazing feats were performed today on an exciting day of Olympics competition.


Women's 15 km Skiathlon

What is a Skiathlon?

The Skiathlon is a challenging ski race where the athletes must race using both the Classical and Freestyle Techniques.

Cross country skiing features two different techniques - Classical and Freestyle. The Skiathlon requires the athletes to ski the first half of the race using the Classical Technique. At the halfway point, there is a special pit stop where the skiers change into their Freestyle skis and finish the second half of the race. The clock doesn't stop. It's a mass start, so first across the finish line wins.

In the Classical technique, the athletes move one ski directly forward while the other one remains stationary, moving forward in a gliding motion. The event is completed on tracks etched a couple of inches into the snow.

In the Freestyle Technique, athletes ski with their skis on a wider angle as they push forward, similar to the motion in ice skating. There are no tracks.

For the 15km race, the first 7.5km was done using the Classical Technique. Then a pit stop to change skis. Then the last 7.5km is raced using the Freestyle Technique.

Sweden's Charlotte Kalla wins the first gold of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics. Kalla beat out heavily favored Norwegian Marit Bjoergen, avenging her Sochi 2014 loss, when it was Marit Bjoergen who took the Sochi gold and left Kalla with the silver.

Marit Bjoergen of Norway and Charlotte Kalla of Sweden lead the pack Ladies Cross Country Skiing 7.5km Skiathlon PyeongChang 2018 Feb. 9, 2018 - Source: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images AsiaPac

Marit Bjoergen takes the silver and becomes the Most Decorated Female Winter Olympians with this 11th medal win. With this PyeongChang 2018 silver, Marit Bjoergen breaks the three way tie of most decorated female winter Olympian with Russian Raisa Smetanina and Italian Stefania Belmondo.

Marit Bjoergen has stated that this is her last Olympics, and what a way to end a stellar career. She has several more races to medal in and set new records for medaling, possibly outdo fellow Norwegian King of the Biathlon, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the most decorated Winter Olympian with 13 medals over a long, storied career.

Krista Parmakoski of Finland finished third for the PyeongChang 2018 bronze.

Women's 7.5km sprint Biathlon

One of the most awesome sports in the Olympics, the biathlon, awarded its first medals of the PyeongChang 2018 Games. In biathlon, competitors race a course and shoot at targets with their rifles. It's like those spy thrillers, where the secret agents ski on snow and shoot at enemies in a gripping chase scene.

Germany's Laura Dahlmeier shoots all ten targets to win her first ever Olympic gold. Two other women out of 86 competitors also hit all ten targets, but they took too long to shoot and didn't even make the top 15. At last year's World Championship, Dahlmeier won five of six possible golds. Coincidentally, this event was the one gold she missed at the World Championship!

Norway's Marte Olsbu takes the silver medal and Veronika Vitkova of the Czech Republic happily takes home the bronze.

Veronika Vitkova of the Czech Republic celebrates bronze Women's Biathlon 7.5km Sprint PyeongChang 2018 Feb. 9, 2018 - Source: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images AsiaPac

Women's 3000m Speedskating

The Dutch resume their dominance of speedskating, sweeping all the PyeongChang medals just as they did in Sochi 2014.

Carlijn Achtereekte finished with a time of 3 minutes, 59.21 seconds to win gold.

Defending 3000m Sochi 2014 champion and Torino 2006 champion Ireen Wust finished .08 seconds behind to claim silver. Wust’s silver ties her with Germany’s Claudia Pechstein with nine career Olympic medals, the most by any speed skater. Wust has stated this will be her last Olympics.

Bronze went to Antoinette de Jong for the unbeatable Dutch sweep.

(L-R) Netherlands' medalists Ireen Wust (silver), Carlijn Achtereekte (gold), and Antoinette De Jong (bronze) Women's Speed Skating 3000m PyeongChang 2018 Feb. 9, 2018 - Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images AsiaPac

I'm coveting a white tiger now.

Men's 1500m Short track Speedskating

In front of a roaring home crowd, Lim Hyo-jun has given the host country its first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics. This is South Korea's most dominant field in the winter Olympics.

In a deft move, Lim surged past World record holder Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands in the last few laps to cross the finish line, setting an Olympic-record time of 2 minutes, 10.485 seconds.

Hyojun Lim of Korea leads Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands Men's 1500m Short Track Speed Skating PyeongChang 2018 Feb. 9, 2018 - Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images AsiaPac

Knegt settled for the silver medal, while the bronze went to Semen Elistratov, who became Russia's first medalist of the games.

No Americans qualified for the final. And defending Sochi 2014 champion Charles Hamelin of Canada was penalized for impeding and finished far back. A crash wiped out two skaters in the final event. France's Thibaut Fauconnet took a skate to the face after Korea's Hwang Daeheon fell and tangled with Thibaut Fauconnet. This opened the path for Semen Elistratov, Olympic Athlete from Russia, to advance to third and claim the bronze. Hwang Daeheon is eliminated.

Thibaut Fauconnet of France and Daeheon Hwang of Korea crash during the Men's 1500m Short Track Speed Skating Final PyeongChang 2018 February 10, 2018 South Korea Feb. 9, 2018 - Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images AsiaPac

Men's Normal Hill Individual Ski Jumping

After a lot of wind delays and enduring freezing temperatures, Germany's Andreas Wellinger wins the gold in the Normal Hill Individual Event. He also won gold as a team member in the Large Hill Event at Sochi 2014.

Andreas Wellinger of Germany wins gold in Men's Normal Hill Individual Ski Jumping Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Johann André Forfang of Norway claims the silver. And another Norwegian, Robert Johansson, takes bronze. Defending Sochi 2014 champion Kamil Stoch of Poland landed in fourth. It was an amazing performance from the athletes who had to battle fierce winds and bone numbing cold and delays over a very long day of competition.

And so ends a fantastic Day 1 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.


  1. I especially enjoyed the Sprint Biathlon. Race like crazy. Settle down to shoot. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Amazing sport.

    I felt sorry for the staging crew who had to stand for hours in the wind and cold on that Normal Hill Ski Jump. The poor things were so cold, but hung in there to do their jobs so that the jumpers could compete.

    1. LX, That was a frantic biathlon! I was impressed by the biathletes' focus and stamina. I was also impressed with the ski jumpers, especially since most of the time, they sat exposed on that freezing hilltop, waiting for the all clear to jump in between rough gusts.

      And you're right. Those camera crews, staff, and volunteers deserve so much kudos for doing their part to keep the Games running and overcome the weather challenges.

      The most exciting event for me was the men's short track, especially since there is always chaos and unexpected surprises in the mad dash to the finish line.

  2. I actually watched some of this: the men's 1500m short track speedskating and the normal hill individual ski jumping. I found myself getting too into the speedskating, so had to walk away otherwise the whole day would have gone before I knew it.
    I also saw some men's luge - I don't know if it was live or repeats, though.

    1. IDV, The Olympics are addicting, especially the chaotic and thrilling sports like short track speedskating. Those ski jumpers are the Supermen of the Olympics for flying! And those lugers are crazy fast!

      I waste a lot of time watching the Olympics. It's my guilty pleasure. And it's one of the few times most of my fave sports converge and happen in one setting and time period. I'm a hermit during the Olympics.