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LET THE GAMES BEGIN - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Thursday February 8, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

We've been talking about the Winter Olympics for months, years even, but now they're here. Read on for all you need to know.

February 9th 2018.

The day the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics officially begin.

The two-hour long Opening Ceremony has taken place in all its kitsch and flag-waving glory, the Olympic Cauldron has been lit and the Games have been declared open.

 Lizzy Yarnold, the Sochi 2014 Olympics skeleton champion, carried the flag for Great Britain at the ceremony.

Lizzy YarnoldLizzy Yarnold















There had been warnings that it could be as low as -21 Celsius, though it turned out to be just a little milder.

The ceremony took place in the Olympic Stadium which has no roof.

Spectators were given bags containing hot packs, seatwarmers, a blanket, a hat and a windbreaker.

Team GB athletes wore jackets with down insulation made to deal with temperatures down to -40 degrees, fleece-lined beanies, salopettes, boots, gloves and hand-warmers.

Team GB at the Opening CeremonyTeam GB enters the Olympic Stadium
















No hat, gloves or even a shirt, though, for the flagbearer from the Pacific island nation, Tonga.

Taekwondo fighter Pita Taufatofua carried the flag at the Rio Summer Olympics and caused a sensation with his oiled torso.

He did it again in Pyeongchang, despite the cold.

He's now a cross-country skier, by the way.

Pita Taufatofua at Pyeongchang Opening CeremonyThat's got to be cold















The theme of the ceremony was peace and harmony and one of the biggest cheers was when the athletes of South and North Korea - countries still technically at war - marched as one team under a joint flag.

Korea at the Pyeongchang Opening CeremonyThe joint Korean team














While the ceremony is all good fun, what we really care about is the sport and we're looking forward to 17 days packed with action on snow and ice.

There are 102 gold medals to be won across 15 disciplines in seven sports taking place at 13 separate venues.

Six new events have made it into the South Korea games, including Snowboard Big Air and the Alpine Team Event.

Team GB has taken its biggest ever squad and is hoping to return home with more medals than ever before.

Jamie Nicholls & Katie Ormerod in PyeongchangGB snowboarding cousins Jamie Nicholls & Katie Ormerod - photo Jamie Nicholls














UK Sport has set a target of between four and 10 medals, two of which they expect to come on snow.

But one of GB's strongest contenders for medals, freestyle snowboarder Katie Ormerod, was dramatically ruled out of competition late on Thursday after a scan showed she had severely fractured her right heel in training.

For more on that, read our separate story:

The injury came a day after she suffered a fracture to her wrist in her first training session on Wednesday.

That injury was said to be minor and not enough to stop her competing.

Katie Ormerod in PyeongchangKatie Ormerod after training on the slopestyle course - photo GB Park & Pipe


















"First training day and loving the course but unfortunately slipped off a rail and fractured my wrist," she said on social media after the initial injury.

"I'm all good and looking forward to continuing to train and to competing on Sunday!"

Unfortunately that's not to be.


Here at PlanetSKI we'll be bringing you extensive coverage of the snowsports action and all the headlines from the Games.

What's on when?

Pyeongchang is nine hours ahead of GMT, so daytime competition will take place in the early hours of the morning in Europe.

You can find the full sport-by-sport and day-by-day schedule on the official Pyeongchang2018 website but here's our guide to just a few of the main events on snow with local start times (GMT in brackets) and some of the GB competitors to look out for.

Saturday 10th

Snowboard slopestyle men's qualification 10am (1am) - Billy Morgan, Jamie Nicholls, Rowan Coultas.

Sunday 11th

Snowboard slopestyle men's final 10am (1am)

Men's downhill 11am (2am) *** UPDATE***  High winds caused postponement.  Re-scheduled for Thursday 15th 11am (2am)

Snowboard slopestyle women's qualification 1.30pm (4.30am) -  Aimee Fuller ***UPDATE*** Cancelled.  All athletes straight through to tomorrow's final.

Men's cross-country 15km + 15km skiathlon 3.15pm (6.15am) - Andrew Musgrave

Monday 12th

Snowboard slopestyle women's final 10am (1am)

Women's giant slalom first run 10.15am (1.15am) , second run 1.45pm (4.45am) - Alex Tilley ****UPDATE**** High winds caused postponement.  Rescheduled for Thursday 15th.

Tuesday 13th

Men's cross-country sprint classic 6pm (9am) - Andrew Young

Wednesday 14th

Women's slalom first run 10.15am (1.15am), second run 1.45pm (4.45am) - Alex Tilley  ****UPDATE**** High winds caused postponement. Rescheduled for Friday 16th.

Men's snowboard halfpipe final 10.30am (1.30am)

Thursday 15th
Women's re-scheduled giant slalom first run 10am (1am), second run 1.45pm (4.45pm) - Alex Tilley

Men's re-scheduled downhill 11am (2am)

Friday 16th

Women's snowboard cross 10am (1am) - Zoe Gillings-Brier

Women's rescheduled slalom.  First run 10am (1am), second run 1.15pm (4.15am) - Alex Tilley

Men's cross-country 15km free 3pm (6am) - Andrew Musgrave

Andrew Musgrave in PyeongchangAndrew Musgrave in Pyeongchang - photo Andrew Musgrave



















Saturday 17th

Ski slopestyle women's qualification 10am (1am) and final 1pm (4am) - Izzy Atkin, Katie Summerhayes

Men's aerials qualification 8pm (11am) - Lloyd Wallace

Sunday 18th

Ski slopestyle men's qualification 10am (1am) and final 1.15pm (4.15am)  - James Woods, Tyler Harding

Men's giant slalom first run 10.15am (1.15am), second run 1.45pm (4.45am)

Men's aerials final 8pm (11am)

Pyeongchang slopestyle coursePyeongchang slopestyle course - photo GB Park & Pipe


















Monday 19th

Snowboard Big Air women's qualification 9.30am (00.30am) -  Aimee Fuller

Ski halfpipe women's qualification 10am (1am) - Rowan Cheshire, Molly Summerhayes

Tuesday 20th

Ski halfpipe women's final 10.30am (1.30am)

Ski halfpipe men's qualification 1pm (4am) - Murray Buchan, Pete Speight, Alexander Glavatsky-Yeadon

Wednesday 21st

Snowboard Big Air men's qualification 9.30am (00.30am) - Billy Morgan, Jamie Nicholls, Rowan Coultas

Women's downhill 11am (2am)

Thursday 22nd

Men's slalom first run 10.15am (1.15am), second run 1.45pm (4.45am) - Dave Ryding

Ski halfpipe men's final 11.30am (2.30am)

Women's snowboard big air final (rescheduled from Friday 23rd) 9.30am (2.30am)

Dave RydingDave Ryding goes in the slalom on 22nd February














Friday 23rd

Snowboard Big Air women's final 9.30am (00.30am) ***UPDATE**** Forecast high winds, rescheduled to Thursday 22nd.  Same time.

Women's Ski Cross 11.30am (2.30am) - Emily Sarsfield

Saturday 24th

Snowboard Big Air men's final 10am (1am)

Alpine team event 11am (2am) - Dave Ryding, Laurie Taylor, Alex Tilley, Charlie Guest

Sunday 25th

Closing ceremony 8pm (11am)


The above is only a snapshot of some of our favourite events but there are a whole load of others to look out for, many with Team GB involvement.

There are more cross-country skiing races (and a lot are taking place at more friendly times for European viewing).

Then there's the bobsleigh, skeleton, short-track speed skating and curling.

Bob & skeleton track, PyeongchangThe sliding centre - photo British Bobsleigh & Skeleton
















If you want to see the full details of when all Great Britain's athletes will compete across all the sports, see the Team GB guide.

Where can I watch the Winter Olympics?

In the UK both the BBC and Eurosport will be have full coverage, with live and catch-up action on TV and online.

The BBC schedule varies but there will be live action on TV across BBC1 and BBC2, the red button, the BBC Sport website and app.

There will be a daily highlights programme on BBC2 at 7pm and BBC4 at 8pm, with additional highlights on the BBC Red Button and online via the BBC Sport website.

Eurosport 1 and 2 will have extensive coverage with three extra channels set up for the Games which will be available for Sky, Virgin and BT subscribers.

You can also choose which sport you want to watch with 15 online channels via the Eurosport Player (paid for).

If you don't have Eurosport but you do have Amazon Prime you can subscribe to Eurosport Player for £4.99 a month and cancel at any time.

If you're in mainland Europe you can watch coverage on Discovery, Eurosport and various network TV channels.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news 

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