Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Update (Day 0)

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Day 0 of the Olympics is a little misleading but it is the official beginning of the games with the opening ceremonies taking centre stage.

The Olympics are technically already in full swing with events already taking place and a few athletes already seeing their chances at a medal dwindling while others are headed towards a big next few days.

It is the way the Olympics are now working with so many events to fit in and tournaments to hold there is not a lot of time left so things get kicked off early.

Still, there are no medals handed out and only preliminary qualifications taking place for a few sports throughout the Olympic programme.

Day 0 is the day when everything officially gets kicked off and the host country takes the spotlight to showcase what they are.

The Opening Ceremonies have always been that chance for a country to display the best they have to offer while the world watches.

South Korea did their best this time around to display everything that the country is and the world watched with excitement to see their athletes and what the country had to offer.

As the fans enjoyed the spectacle there was a bigger story unfolded just hours before the official opening of the games.

That is the story that has continued to be the biggest point of conversation over the last few months.

Last year the International Olympic Committee made a decision that changed the face of the Pyeongchang games when they banned Russia from competing in the games.

The decision came after years of investigation into a massive doping scandal that involved multiple levels of the Russian government.

Essentially, the investigation revealed that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency had provided their athletes with performance-enhancing drugs and then faking test results to ensure they passed.

The doping operation was one of the biggest to ever be revealed in the Olympics and so the IOC had to make a tough decision.

They could go light on one of the biggest winter sports countries in the world to make sure they were still going to participate but be punished.

Instead, they chose to hand down one of the most severe punishments they have ever handed down banning the entire team from participating the 2018 games.

They would allow some athletes to participate under very strict guidelines but they would compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia.

The Russian flag would not fly anywhere at the Olympics and if any OAR member won a medal it would not count towards a Russian medal count while any gold would not see their anthem play.

It was severe but it was a punishment that many seemed to be appropriate for the issues that they had brought to the doping world.wolympic-sidebarolympics-sidebar

Of course, that was far from the end of the story as the athletes that were banned were not going to go down without a fight.

These athletes appealed the decision on the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in the hopes that the court would claim that they were treated unfairly.

If the court agreed that the punishment was too great for the athletes then they would overturn the ban and force the Olympics to allow the athletes into the games.

It would have changed the games had that decision been made with a number of gold medal hopefuls in the group that would be brought back into competition.

Luckily only hours before the games officially opened the court decided against the athletes claiming that it was a decision to be made by the IOC.

The court made a ruling to uphold the ban on the Russian athletes that were not allowed to compete claiming it was a case of eligibility.

The court cannot rule on eligibility as it is the responsibility of the governing body to set those rules and administer punishments.

It was a big win for the IOC and for those looking to keep sports as clean as they can be as the ban stayed in place leaving doping athletes on the sideline.

The worry for the last week had been that these athletes would be allowed back into competition and the fact that they had all failed drug tests would mean nothing.

That is not the way to keep sports clean as the punishment must be handed out and followed through if they want to deter this from happening.

Allowing these athletes back would be a big welcome sign to athletes who want to get that boost from PEDs showing that the punishment is pretty limited.

With this decision, the games promise to be a little cleaner although it is almost certain that someone will fail a test somewhere along the line in these games.

The IOC is making progress in their fight to get to clean sports and for the first time in a long time, they showed that they are serious about cleaning up the games.

 

The Canadian Story:

Gaining Steam

One of the new events in these Olympics lends itself to be one of Canada’s first medals although a lot was unknown with the addition of Mixed Double Curling. The team of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris started shaky with a loss to Norway but since then have won three straight matches putting their tournament back on track for a medal.

Good Positioning

The Team Figure Skating event got underway before the opening ceremonies this year as they get through each performance in an attempt to start their Olympics off with a medal. The Canadian team ended the day in first place for with a third-place finish in the men’s short and a second place finish in the pairs short program.

Canadian Mogul Content

In 2014 one of the bigger surprises for Team Canada was the success in freestyle skiing that seemed to come out of nowhere. This year the expectations were much higher and after the first day of competition five moguls skiers qualified for the finals while two more will have a shot in the second qualifying event.

 

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