As of today, the 2018 Winter Olympics are officially in session! Time to watch talented athletes strut their stuff in the freezing cold of PyeongChang, South Korea. With more than fifteen different sports taking place over the next few weeks, viewers of all preferences will enjoy this international display of competition and hard work.
To celebrate the beginning of this year's games, here are eight interesting facts about the Winter Olympics that you might not have heard before.
1. Those Olympic stadiums aren't cheap. In fact, this year's stadium in PyeongChang set the city back by a staggering $109 million. The craziest part? The entire structure will be torn down after the Olympics are over. That means the multi-million dollar stadium will only be used officially four times before it's demolished, which is making many people question the economic worth of such extravagance in the name of the Olympics. More often than not, Olympic stadiums are abandoned and purposeless after the games conclude, such as in the case of Olympic venue in Greece.
2. Four new events have been introduced in the 2018 games. This is the first time in Olympic history that big air snowboarding, mixed doubles, mass start speed skating, and freestyle skiing will be included in the competitions. That brings the number of Winter Olympic events to 102 this year, so if you plan to watch most of them on TV, you'll need to clear your schedule.
3. Figure skating and ice hockey weren't always a part of the winter games. Surprisingly, up until 1924, both were included in the Summer Olympics. Now, the two sports are considered to be some of the most popular with viewers. However, this year the NHL will not be releasing players to compete in the Olympics, which will change up the ice hockey competition a bit.
4. The most expensive Winter Olympics ever held were the 2014 Sochi Games. As pricey as PyeongChang's stadium and budget might seem, the games in Sochi blew through their estimated costs and ended up spending $50 billion on infrastructural projects, the games themselves, and the stadium.
5. Norway is the country to beat when it comes to winter sports. The country has taken home more medals than any other in the Winter Games over the course of history, beating out the USA by a total 47 medals. The athlete with the most Winter medals (thirteen), Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, also belongs to Norway. The most decorated U.S. winter athlete, Apolo Anton Ohno, has won eight Olympic medals.
6. According to recent data, Americans' favorite Winter Olympics sport to watch is hockey. However, it is not the worldwide favorite sport to tune into. Curling is more popular in many parts of Africa, and speedskating is beloved by many in China and Mongolia.
7. Since their birth, the Winter Olympics have been hosted by eleven different countries across three continents. The United States hosted them four of those times. The last U.S. Winter Games were held in Salt Lake City during 2002.
8. Only one athlete has ever won a gold medal during both the summer and winter games. American Eddie Eagan won in boxing during the 1920 Summer Olympics and won in bobsledding in the 1932 Winter Olympics.