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What to know about the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

The Olympic Rings on the beach at Gangneung

The Olympic Rings on the beach at Gangneung ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics on Jan. 12, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Credit: Getty Images / Richard Heathcote

Here’s a look at what to know about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics:

Opening and closing ceremonies

The 2018 Winter Olympics officially begin with the Opening Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 9 at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, a temporary structure that seats about 35,000.

NBC will live stream the Opening Ceremony for the first time. Mike Tirico and Katie Couric will co-host the Opening Ceremony.

The ceremony starts at 8 p.m. Korean Standard Time, but South Korea is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, meaning a 6 a.m. start.

The Games will conclude with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. local time.

When do the actual Games begin?

While the Opening Ceremony marks the official start to the Olympics, the Games technically begin on Thursday, Feb. 9 with mixed doubles curling round robin matches — new to the Olympics in 2018 — and men’s ski jumping individual normal hill qualifications. The first medal competitions begin Saturday, Feb. 10 with events in women’s biathlon, women’s cross-country skiing, men’s short-track speedskating, men’s ski jumping and women’s speedskating.

See the full schedule here.

Where is PyeongChang?

PyeongChang is located in South Korea, about 79 miles east of the capital city of Seoul, which hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics.

It was announced in 2011 that PyeongChang would host the 2018 Winter Olympics. The city beat out other bids from Munich, Germany and Annecy, France.

How to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics

NBC is the home of the Olympics and will broadcast the 2018 Winter Olympics live across all time zones. Events will be carried on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.

A more detailed Olympics TV schedule will be coming soon.

Team USA

The U.S. Olympic Team is expected to have about 240 athletes at the 2018 Games, according to teamusa.org.

Notable names for the U.S. include skier Lindsey Vonn and snowboarder Shaun White, both of whom could be competing in their final Olympics.

Are NHL players competing in this year’s Winter Olympics?

The short answer: No.

The NHL announced last April that its players would not compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, following a run of five straight Winter Olympics featuring NHL players.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said many times that the league’s owners were against having players compete in the Olympics for multiple reasons, mainly because of the 17-day break in February.

What is the 2018 Winter Olympics mascot?

The mascot for the 2018 Games is a white tiger named Soohorang.

The white tiger is considered “Korea’s guardian animal,” according to the Olympic website.

“Sooho,” translates to protection in Korean and “rang” comes from “Ho-rang-i,” which means tiger in Korean and “Jeong-seon A-ri-rang,” a traditional folk song of Gangwon Province, where PyeongChang is located.

Joint Korean team

Athletes from South and North Korea have agreed to form their first joint Olympic team, South Korea said on Wednesday, Jan. 17. It said athletes from the two countries will march together under a “unification flag” during the Opening Ceremony and will form a combined women’s hockey team.

New York Sports