2018 Winter Olympics Preview

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Finally, the wait is over. Beginning February 9, the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This tradition, idolized by spectators and competitors, happens once every four years, and the competition looks sharp for yet another year. Team USA will return with both veteran competitors and rookies.


Mikaela Shiffrin, a member of the U.S. alpine skiing team, has especially big plans to expand on her first gold medal received in Sochi in 2014. Ms. Shiffrin is a native of Vail, Colorado. Specializing in slalom and giant slalom, two of five alpine skiing events, Shiffrin competed in her first Olympics in Sochi in 2014. 18 years old, she won gold in women’s slalom and made history as the youngest champion in her event. After her victory in Sochi, she is setting a personal goal to win five medals in 2018, a daunting challenge even for experienced Olympians. However, as the Winter Olympics approach, this milestone does not seem too far out of reach. Shiffrin has won a total of nine slalom races in the the alpine ski World Cup race this year, winning most recently by a massive margin of 1.64 seconds. Additionally, in other alpine skiing events, she remains in top form and seems prepared to make the run for five Golds. At Pyeongchang, Ms. Shiffrin plans to compete in slalom and giant slalom, the first two events on the schedule, and depending on her performance, she may attempt other events. As one of the top winter athletes for the U.S. team in 2018, audience members should certainly keep their eyes on Ms. Shiffrin.


Another popular event in the Winter Olympics is the luge. Although Team USA has a competitive luge program and has earned medals on more than one occasion, the team has yet to win an Olympic gold. The key to winning is simply performing under pressure on the competition run. Many athletes on the team have the capability to produce gold medal runs: it is just about performing when it matters. Luge is a unique sport: there are a total of 20 corners to navigate around, and the fastest run wins. Athletes lay on their backs and throw themselves feet first down an ice track in a metal sled, peering over their toes down the course. The United States will look to finally secure their first gold medal in this fast-paced and somewhat dangerous sport this upcoming Olympics.


Overall, the United States is shaping up for an excellent performance in this year’s Olympic Games. Competing globally as one of the most consistently performing countries in this grand culmination of winter sports, we can expect the nation to succeed and – with some luck – to take home a world record or two as well.