#PyeongChang2018 by the Numbers
As the 2018 Winter Olympic Games get underway in Pyeongchang, let's take a look at some of the numbers and research behind the Games.
The first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France providing 16 events for athletes to compete in. Since then, countries have been competing for medals in an ever growing number of sports. The 2018 Games will offer 102 competitive events, up from 98 at the 2014 Sochi Games.
As the 2018 Games get started - we see that Germany holds the lead in overall medal count for Winter Games. Russia, in second place, will not get the chance to add to their medal totals at these games given the recent doping scandal that as enveloped sport in that country.
Russian athletes who are not a part of the doping infractions are being allowed to participate in the Games as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" but the Russian flag and anthem will not be allowed during the Games.
With each Olympic Games, more sports are added, and some are dropped. There are more than 100 Gold Medals available at the 2018 Games, providing Germany with a lot of opportunities to expand their lead over Russia.
In the Winter Games, sports take place on either snow or ice surfaces and are classified as Snow Sports, Ice Sports or Sliding Sports. One of the major factors affecting the Winter Games has been climate change. According to an article in the NYT, nine former Winter Olympics sites may not be reliably cold enough for the Games.
The 2014 research lead by University of Waterloo geography professor Daniel Scott used climate data from previous Winter Games locations and applied climate-change models to predict future winter weather conditions in previous host cities. The research showed that both Sochi, the 2014 Games host city and Vancouver, the 2010 host city would not be reliable hosts for future Winter Games.
Host nations spend a lot of time and money getting ready to host a Games. This process involves creating marketing plans, event plans and building the massive physical infrastructure required. Along the way, researchers note there are many tensions that need to be considered and that hosting an Olympics does not pay off or create the economic legacy that governments expect.
While we can see that 2018 Winter Games will have a large number of staff directly employed by the Games Organizing Committee, as with all sport, the Games would not be possible without the help of a vast number of volunteers. Researchers have studied what motivates individuals to volunteer for the Olympics and found that generally volunteers were older employed people who were motivated by the experience of being part of such a significant sport event. "For these volunteers, truly it is all about the Games"(Dickson et al., 2013).
So as you watch these Games, think about the issues of Climate Change and how it effects sport, the continuing fight against doping in sport and how sport still motivates people to want to volunteer to help make the Games happen. Check back with 110Percent as we will be sharing our thoughts and related research on the 2018 Games as they unfold.