Olympics Continue Amidst International Scandals

Suzanna Graham, Staff Writer

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What happened after the 2014 Sochi Olympics? The Russians were Putin their place. The  2018 Pyeongchang Olympics will begin on February 9th, with some noticeable changes within the games. Two of the more significant changes are the participation of a unified North and South Korean women’s hockey team and the disqualification of Team Russia.

North Korea will be sending 22 athletes to the Winter Games, participating in ice hockey, ice skating, and skiing. Though this would not be the first Olympics that North Korea participated in, these games make history as a team of North and South Korean female hockey players compete under a united flag. A team of 23 South Koreans and 12 North Koreans has been put together to play for the united front of “Korea”, using a traditional folk song called “Arirang” as their national anthem. Though North Korea South Korea are technically still at war with each other, many Prep students think that the Korea’s representing one team may eventually bring peace to the peninsula. . Hannah Docktor ’20 says that “we shouldn’t exclude someone because we’re afraid of them. I don’t think we should exclude them from that celebration”. However peaceful international relations with North Korea may seem currently, Docktor stated that we should “be a bit careful.”  And though North Korea is seen as a political and military threat, the Olympics are not a political competition, rather a celebration of honest sport.

These Olympics will take place without an annual competitor in most events: Team Russia. No athlete on behalf of the Russian team will be allowed to compete, due to their doping scandal during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The Russian team used doping to enhance their athlete’s performances during the previous Winter Olympics, and in doing this, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned a total of 43 athletes from the Pyeongchang Olympic games. The IOC declared that if a Russian athlete competed during the games, they must compete as “neutral”, or, not competing for any country. The records will state that during the 2018 games, Russia will have won a total of zero medals. Though this decision might seem harsh against athletes who did not use illegal performance-enhancing drugs during the 2014 games, many students at Prep agree with the IOC’s decision. Emily Colleran ’21, says that “[Russia] should be banned if they’re doing illegal things that are cheating the Olympics. [The Olympics] shouldn’t be so political and should more be a celebration of sport”. By artificially enhancing their athlete’s performances, Russia has violated the cardinal Olympic ideal of honest sport.

The Olympics have continued throughout the midst of wars, political disagreements, and cheating scandals alike, and this year will be no different. Ultimately, the Olympics are a chance for athletes all around the world to compete against the best of the best, no matter which country an athlete is from .



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