Pyeongchang Games by the Numbers: Skier Marit Bjoergen Sets a Winter Olympic Record and Other Firsts

An historic opening ceremony for North and South Korea and other key moments at the Winter Games

The 2018 Winter Games have officially begun after an historic opening ceremony that brought together dignitaries from North and South Korea. Gold medal events are underway in cross-country skiing, speed skating and more. Here’s a look at the Pyeongchang Games by the numbers.

1 The first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games went to Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla in the women’s cross country skiathlon. Kalla, 30, triumphed over the defending champion, Norwegian Marit Bjoergen, by 7.8 seconds, winning the gold medal with a time of 40 minutes, 44.9 seconds. In third place was Finland’s Krista Parmakoski. The skiathlon is a mass start 15 kilometer cross country event in which the competitors switch techniques half way through, from 7.5 kilometers of classic skiing to 7.5 kilometers of to freestyle skiing. And although Bjorgen lost to Kalla, she set her own record with a total of 11 medals (See below). U.S. racer Jessie Diggins took fifth place, the best individual finish for an American in an Olympic cross-country ski race since 1976.

4 The Pyeongchang Games introduced four new events to the Olympics. Big air snowboarding, which will replace the parallel slalom, features riders flying off pitched ramps to perform jumps with flips and spins, as many as possible in the time allowed. Also new to the schedule: mass start in speed skating, a team skiing event and mixed doubles in curling. One goal of the International Olympic Committee is to attract a younger audience.

11 Marit Bjoergen, 37 won her 11th medal, a silver, to become the most decorated female Winter Olympian ever. Her win broke a three-way tie with Raisa Smetanina of Russia and Stefania Belmondo of Italy. Bjoergen won three gold medals at the 2010 Vancouver Games and three at the Sochi Games. She says this will be her last Olympics. “I have been very good for many years but I’m also getting older and the younger girls are getting better,” Bjoergen said, according to The Associated Press.

51  Fifty-one-year-old Canadian curler Cheryl Bernard is the oldest athlete registered for Pyeongchang, but because she is an alternate, she might not compete. Not far behind is 49-year-old Finnish curler Tomi Rantamaeki. The youngest is Chinese halfpipe skier Wu Meng, 15. Other 15-year-olds who will be competing: Jennie Lee Burmansson, slopestyle skiing for Sweden, Zhang Kexin, halfpipe skier for China, Alina Zagitova, Russian figure skater, Kim Ha-nul, South Korean figure skater and Hiroaki Kunitak, big air and slopestyle snowboarding.

92 More than 2,900 athletes from 92 countries are competing in the Pyeongchang Games, making it the biggest Winter Olympics ever. Its popularity comes despite tensions on the Korean peninsula, though those were eased once North Korea decided to participate in the Games and even join with the South Koreans on the rink for one women’s hockey team.

242 Team USA includes 242 athletes, the largest Winter Olympic team for any country. The United States is represented by 108 women and 134 men, competing in seven sports. The team is the most diverse ever, with 10 African-Americans, 11 Asian-Americans and the first two male athletes who have said they are gay.

1,218 The Olympic rings were formed during the opening ceremony reportedly using 1,218 drones. “A swarm of drones brings us one of the most incredible sights of the #OpeningCeremony,” NBC Olympics tweeted.

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