The Faults and Struggles of the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Olympics

By Matthew Collins & Bart Brophy ‘ 21

Out of the best Slopestyle snowboarding athletes in the world, four out of five snowboarders crashed on their final runs in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.  On Sunday, February 12 the Women’s Slopestyle for the 2018  Olympics were held despite the winds making it almost impossible to clear the massive jumps on the course.  The speed of winds during the event isenough to serve as a tunnel for testing how aerodynamic cars are.

Only five of the athletes who competed in the Olympics, succeeded in clearing the jumps, even so, Laurie Blouin won silver even with a fall on her first run.  According to BBC commentator Ed Leigh “It wasn’t about who was the best on the day, it was who could get the best conditions.”  Leading people to doubt the legitimacy of the final runs.  However, the women’s Slopestyle wasn’t the only event to be affected.  The men’s Olympic downhill ski event was postponed from Sunday to Thursday that continue to blow in.  Most of the outdoor on mountain events have been postponed even the women’s giant slalom because of the 40mph winds.  The athletes are still positive about the events despite these rough conditions.  Jamie Anderson, gold medalist for the US team women’s snowboarding Slopestyle, says she isn’t estatic about her run, considering that her tricks wouldn’t have gotten her anywhere near the final.”But considering the conditions and everything, I feel pretty good,” says gold medalist Jamie Anderson.  This olympics isn’t the only one that has had problems.  In 1984 blizzards caused a week of delays at the Sarajevo olympics and there were several schedule changes at 1998 Nagano games due to snow, rain, lightning, and fog.  Even at Sochi four years ago caused delays due to the fog in the biathlon and snowboarding events.

According to t he Washington Post, winds were 50mph on Wednesday causing for car alarms to go off, debris swirling around, and fences to be blown over and strewn about.  So, why is it so windy?  PyeongChang is in the Taebaek mountains, and is known for the cold winds that usually are in Southeast Asia.  The reason these winds are caused is because of something called Siberian High.  The air circulates clockwise in around the high pressure zone, and the Taebaek mountains intercept the air causing the wind to increase speed in higher elevations.  The cold, dry airflow is the most dominant of the five wind patterns in this region.  Over the last couple of days the wind has been hitting the mountains where the Olympics are being held.  The reason the Olympics currently have the worst conditions is because ski areas are usually located at the highest terrain and wind facing sides, to allow snow to pile up.  In the next couple of days it is shown for the wind to die down a bit, but be back in full stream later next week.

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