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2018 Winter Olympics: Top Athletes, Event Schedule and Medal History

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2018

Elise Christie (C) of Great Britain leads a group during the women's 500m final event at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Seoul on November 18, 2017.
 / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je        (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

The 2018 Winter Olympics are fast approaching, as Friday marks the opening ceremony of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Although the competition officially begins on Friday, curling will kick off its round-robin stage on Thursday, while ski jumping will also commence qualification rounds on the same day. 

Great Britain's Elise Christie is expected to dominate in the short-track speedskating, which starts on Saturday, and the world champion will have her eye on Olympic glory.

Norway and Germany will once again field impressive squads, with the United States and Canada also dreaming of medals.

Russia will be absent from the Games after their recent doping punishment delivered by the International Olympic Committee. However, a selection of athletes from the country will be present after receiving individual clearance to compete.

Here is a full event schedule, including the start dates of each discipline and a look at top athletes to watch:

           

Thursday, Feb. 8

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Curling, ski jumping

      

Friday, Feb. 9

Opening ceremony, figure skating, freestyle skiing

      

Saturday, Feb. 10

Biathlon, cross-country skiing, short-track speedskating, speedskating, ski jumping

        

Sunday, Feb. 11

Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, luge, snowboard, speedskating

      

Monday, Feb. 12

Alpine skiing, biathlon, figure skating, ski jumping, snowboard, speedskating

            

Tuesday, Feb. 13

Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, short-track speedskating, snowboard, speedskating 

              

Wednesday, Feb. 14

Alpine skiing, biathlon, Nordic combined, snowboard, speedskating

          

Thursday, Feb. 15

Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, figure skating, luge, skeleton, speedskating

              

Friday, Feb. 16

Cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboard, speed skating, skeleton

              

Saturday, Feb. 17

Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, short-track speedskating, ski jumping, skeleton    

              

Sunday, Feb. 18

Alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, speedskating

              

Monday, Feb. 19  

Bobsleigh, ski jumping, speedskating

              

Tuesday, Feb. 20

Biathlon, figure skating, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, short-track speedskating

               

Wednesday, Feb. 21

Alpine skiing, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, speedskating

              

Thursday, Feb. 22

Alpine skiing, biathlon, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, Nordic combined, short-track speedskating

             

Friday, Feb. 23

Alpine skiing, biathlon, figure skating, freestyle skiing, snowboard, speedskating

              

Saturday, Feb. 24

Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, snowboard, speedskating

               

Sunday, Feb. 25

Bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, ice hockey, closing ceremony

Schedule courtesy of the Telegraph.

              

Per OlympStats, here's a look at the medal table from four years ago before Russia were stripped of 13 medals and then had seven returned:

                           

Medal Table at Sochi

Russia (33): 13 gold, 11 silver, 9 bronze

United States (28): 9 gold, 7 silver, 12 bronze

Norway (26): 11 gold, 5 silver, 10 bronze

Canada (25): 10 gold, 10 silver, 5 bronze

Netherlands (24): 8 gold, 7 silver, 9 bronze

Germany (19): 8 gold, 6 silver, 5 bronze

                    

Top Athletes

Elise Christie, Speedskating

DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 14:  (L-R)  Minjeong Choi of South Korea (Silver medal), Elise Christie of Great Britain (Gold medal) and Marianne St-Gelais of Canada (Bronze medal) pose after the 500m Womens Final during ISU Short Track Speed Skating W
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Christie rose to prominence in the last Games but became famous for all the wrong reasons.

The Scot was tipped for gold ahead of the competition. However, disaster struck as she suffered disqualification in each of her three events.

The 27-year-old was disqualified after a collision in the 500 metres, and she suffered further agony in the 1,000 and 1,500 due to a technical infringement and a second collision, respectively.

Christie was heartbroken by her performance but has risen to become the most recognisable figure in her sport.

(From L) South Korea's Shim Suk Hee competes as Great Britain's Elise Christie and China's Li Jianrou collide in the Women's Short Track 1000 m Semifinals at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JUN
JUNG YEON-JE/Getty Images

The athlete is now world champion in the 1,000 and 1,500, and she grabbed a bronze in the 3,000 at the World Championships.

She also set a world record in the 500 at Salt Lake City in a World Cup event, underlining her potential for a huge haul in Pyeongchang.

                

Shaun WhiteSnowboard

The United States will be hoping snowboard icon Shaun White can once again take home gold as the double Olympic champion attempts to reclaim his throne.

White has been one of the greatest competitors in winter sports history, claiming a record 13 gold medals at the Winter X Games.

The snowboarder was jubilant when he earned a spot through U.S. qualifying:

The 31-year-old came fourth at Sochi 2014 but will have the chance to improve on that when he takes to the snow this year.

White recorded a perfect halfpipe score to win the U.S. Grand Prix in Snowmass, Colorado, and he will believe he has every chance of gold in Pyeongchang.

The Californian will be one of the most instantly recognisable faces at the competition, and his quality remains undeniable.

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