PyeongChang 2018: Three major talking points

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Despite the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony well underway, OnTrack’s attention is still firmly on the Paralympics to come.

PyeongChang has not been without it’s controversies and political tensions. While every major Games and decisions comes with contention, PyeongChang’s geopolitical issues and timing following the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal raised many question marks over the Games.

But security worries were diminished with tireless work from organisers to ensure fair and safe Games go ahead next month.

Here are three major talking points about PyeongChang 2018.

Clean Competing

The Russians may have hosted the 2014 Games but after an appeal to allow Russians to compete under their own flag after more than 50 competed in qualifying events was thrown out, only athletes who prove themselves to be clean can compete, entering under the Paralympic flag. The IPC and International Olympic Committee both came down hard on the country accused of systematic state-endorsed doping.

North begin new Paralympic Korea

While the neighbouring Koreas have shared a frosty relationship over the years, the conflict was recently put on ice with the decision for the North to send a Paralympic delegation to the Games, a historical choice leading to the North’s debut at the Winter Paralympics and more importantly, a potential thawing of the tensions. Two sit skiers will represent the North.

East is East

These Games will kick off a three-cycle stint in Asia, with Tokyo 2020 Summer Games following and the next installment of Winter Games in Beijing. 2018 marks 20 years since the Winter Games in Japan, the last time the movement visited the continent. Expect the Asian Paralympic Committee to target a shift in attitudes not too dissimilar to the London 2012 legacy.