IAD -> ICN

We have arrived in PyeongChang! I flew to Seoul on Korean Air, an official partner of the Games. I took the opportunity to use some of the 14-hour flight to learn a little more about the various sports and events of the 35th Olympic Games. As part of the in-flight entertainment, Korean Air included short 10-15 minute Olympic sports informational videos which were narrated in Korean but included English subtitles. I was particularly glad to learn more about the rules of curling as that is one of the sports I am assigned to. (Who knew that curling stones weigh 38 to 44 pounds or that curlers wear special shoes with dissimilar soles, one slider and one gripper?!) I also learned about some of the new events of the PyeongChang games, including: mixed doubles curling, long-track speed skating mass start, mixed team alpine skiing and big air snowboarding. Additionally, the in-flight magazine included an overview of Korea’s favorite olympic athletes. Korea’s speed-skating superstar Lee Sang-hwa is seeking her third gold medal in the women’s 500 meter. Sang-hwa, who is 28, is competing in her fourth Olympics. Another local favorite on the speed-skating track is Korea’s Lee Seunghoon. Seung-hoon unexpectedly won gold in Vancouver in the men’s 10,000 meter after Netherlands’ Swen Kramer was disqualified for an incorrect lane change. In addition to his gold medal, Seung-hoon has a silver in the 5,000 meter (Vancouver) and a silver in team pursuit (Sochi). I was also intrigued to learn that the men’s hockey coach is Korean-born Jim Paek, a former NHL player who has two Stanley cup rings from his time as a Pittsburg Penguin. Not only am I looking forward to following the Korean’s men’s hockey team, who are making their Olympic debut, but also the combined women’s hockey team from North and South Korea.

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