News, Politics, Sports

Winter Olympics More Than Just Sports

Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are on now, in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The location is very significant. South Korea and North Korea are not on friendly terms. But the Olympics may be bringing them closer together, politically.

North Korea is a “dictatorship.” That means, one person rules it. That person is Kim Jong-un, known as the “Supreme Leader.” He is known for being extremely strict and harsh with his country’s people. He keeps his country separated from the rest of the world. It is usually hard to know what is going on in North Korea, because free communication is not allowed in or out of the country.

But the Winter Olympics may help to thaw relations between North and South Korea.

With the world’s greatest athletes competing in PyeongChang, the leaders of the two republics* are beginning to communicate more. They have also combined their athletes who compete for, simply, “Korea.”

Kim Jong-un sent his sister, Kim Yo Jong, to the Olympics to represent the North Korea. Unlike her brother, Kim Jon-Un, who is seen by most people as a harsh dictator, Kim Yo Jong is “striking a chord” with people, according to CNN News. In this case “striking a chord” means that people are warming up to her.

Something else has happened. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has asked for a meeting (in PyeongChang) with the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in.

There hasn’t been a meeting between the two republics in more than 10 years. This is seen as a good sign, because, although they still may not get along, at least they will be communicating.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of exciting sports action happening at the Olympic Games. There are 15 winter sports, including ice hockey, curling, luge, speed skating, figure skating and snowboard.

There are also many personal stories of triumph and victory at the Olympics. Each country has a designated broadcaster, who officially covers the Olympic Games for that country. They typically feature personal stories of their country’s athletes.

One other major thing that is happening in the Olympics this year, is that Russia was found guilty of trying to cheat in past Olympics. The country was reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee, and told that most of its athletes would not be allowed to compete under the Russian flag. Many of them are competing, but as “athletes from Russia,” rather than “representing Russia.” This seems to be a small distinction, but it is significant. For instance, if any of those athletes win a medal, the Russian anthem will not be played for them.


*North Korea is officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and South Korea is officially called the Republic of Korea.

Related Links
Competition Schedule for all of the Winter Olympics sports:

CBC 2018 Olympics website (Canada):

CBS 2018 Olympics website (United States):

BBC 2018 Olympics website (Britain):

Official Olympic website, with information about the 2018 Winter Games as well as other Olympics:

Reuters News article about the historic proposed meeting between South and North Korea:

CNN article about Kim Jon Un:

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
This article includes many ‘stories within a story’. While this article is about the 2018 Winter Olympics, there are many other stories apart from the sporting events, which are included. Pick one of the stories mentioned by journalist, Grant, and think of 5 key questions you’d like to ask to find out more about it. Where could you find answers to your questions?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
The article explains that people living in North Korea are not allowed to communicate freely or have access to a lot of information. What that means is that most people living in North Korea cannot access the global Internet. Citizens cannot look up whatever they like; they are closely monitored and can only use their country’s own intranet, called Kwangmyong. This intranet is very tightly controlled by the government.

How would your life be different if you (and your family, friends etc.) could not access the Internet?

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Language Feature: Word choice
The motto of the Olympics is “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. Why do you think these words were chosen to represent the Olympics? If you were to re-write the motto, which 3 words would you use to describe the Olympics?