The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have yet to kick off—a schedule can be found here—but the buzz around the 2018 Olympics has already begun.
In 2018, the Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea and will feature another throng of the best athletes in the world, including some of the best from the U.S. that will look to highlight the 2014 Olympics.
With the official kick off of the ceremonies still four years away, here is all of the information fans of the Winter Olympics need to know and important storylines to watch for the next installment of the games.
2018 Winter Olympics Information
Where: Olympic Park of Hoenggye, Pyeongchang, South Korea
Opening Ceremony: Feb. 9, 2018
Closing Ceremony: Feb. 25, 2018
Storylines to Watch
Vonn Set to Return
One of the biggest stars for the Winter Olympics in the U.S. for the last several years has been Lindsey Vonn. Whether it's the fact that she won the gold medal in downhill and bronze in the Super-G in the 2010 Winter Olympics or her relationship with Tiger Woods, Vonn has been in the news for several reasons.
Unfortunately, the news hasn't been great as of late after she was forced to withdraw from the 2014 Olympics due to injury. But there is certainly hope for the skier as she told the Today Show that she plans to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to the U.S. Olympic Team's official Twitter account:
In a report by Nick Zaccardi of Olympic Talk, Vonn told the Today Show the following:
After making the decision not to compete in Sochi, I have actually committed myself to racing through to the next Olympics. I’m very motivated. I have a lot that I want to accomplish still. I want to take my time. I felt a little bit rushed last time trying to be back and ready for Sochi.
Her possible return would be a huge boost to the U.S. team, who will miss her services this year. Though she hasn't earned a medal on the world stage since the 2011 World Championships, Vonn is still a huge name in the sport and a draw for fans of the skiing events.
Though she'll be 33 years old when the 2018 Winter Olympics officially start, Vonn's return to the biggest stage could be a swan song moment the world will want to watch.
Changing of the Guard in Snowboarding?
This year, several of the top contenders in a few sports are likely in the twilight of their careers. One sport where that is more prevalent than any could be snowboarding, specifically the halfpipe event.
With Shaun White still at the top of his game, he's 27 years old and would be 31 by the time the 2018 Olympics come around. Aside from the fact that he'll be older, so will the competitors that are already nipping at his heels.
Swiss competitor Iouri Podladtchikov, better known in the snowboarding world as I-Pod, and Japan's Ayumu Hirano are considered as the most likely candidates to take White down in this year's games.
While Podladtchikov is 25 and will be 29 entering the 2018 events, Hirano is only 15 years old and already proved himself against White in the 2013 X-Games in Aspen, finishing just behind him and earning a silver medal.
According to the Associated Press, I-Pod already has a trick called the "Yolo Flip" that he believes will earn him gold this year and could lead to further success against White. Podladtchikov also spoke about White and the trick itself in the article:
Being in a position where I gave Shaun the idea of what comes next? I can't really find words for how precious that is to me. It's a very huge form of respect by him. That's what makes the journey and my career more beautiful.
The dynamic of the trick got its final shine. That change of the grab made it happen. I landed on my feet. I was laughing. I thought it wouldn't be very realistic three years ago. Then, two years later, I'm training again with a different grab and I'm like, 'Oh, this works.' I was so excited to try it.
Then there's the recent rise of Danny Davis, who not only won the 2014 X-Games in Aspen halfpipe competition but also took home gold in the 2014 Mammoth Grand Prix halfpipe event.
White will continue to sit on the throne of the snowboarding world thanks to his dominance in the sport, but it certainly appears there are several competitors ready to take him down when the 2018 Olympics roll around.
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