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Winter Olympics to kick off in South Korea's Pyeongchang

Winter Olympics to kick off in South Korea's Pyeongchang
From Al Jazeera - February 8, 2018

Finally politics gives way to sport.

The 23rd Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang, has been used as a pawn in relations between North and South Korea in the past month.

All the while Russia and the International Olympic Committee have been up against each other over competitors the IOC banned for life after the Sochi doping scandal.

But over the next fortnight, 102 gold medals will be decided across 15 sports on snow and ice. For South Koreans pride is turning to excitement.

A smiling army of volunteers tell me of their joy at being part of South Korea's biggest event since hosting the summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988. And crucially they assured me their uniforms were adequately combatting the cold.

Forecasters predict record-breaking low temperatures with some days expected to see minus 20 degrees Celsius and bitter winds. Ski-eras have actually complained about the effect of the cold on their equipment.

But American superstar Lindsey Vonn will be happy to face the cold after missing the last Olympics due to an injury. Fellow American Mikaela Shiffrin is the bright new talent she's up against.

The Nigerian women's bobsleigh trio has created even more interest. And in the spirit of the famous film Cool Runnings, yes there is a Jamaican team too.

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