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FAQ: What you need to know about the 2018 Winter Olympics

 Here is a quick Q&A to get you ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics

Q: Where are the Olympics?

A: Pyeongchang, South Korea. The city is 80 miles from Seoul, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 1988, and about 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone that separates North Korea and South Korea.

Events also will take place in Jeongseon and Gangnueung on the coast.

South Korea won the bid to host over Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France.

Q: When are the Olympics?

A: Competition begins Thursday, with mixed doubles curling and ski jumping. The Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for Friday and expected to include more than 2,000 performers. Closing ceremonies are Sunday, Feb. 25. The gold medal game in men’s hockey is scheduled for the final day.

Q: What is the time difference?

A: South Korea is 14 hours ahead of New York so Friday at 7 a.m. here is Friday at 9 p.m. there.

Q: How many sports are there?

A: Seven – bobsled, figure skating, ice hockey, luge, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard and speed skating, but there are 15 varied disciplines across sports.

Q: How many medals will be awarded?

A: 102

Q: What do the medals look like?

A: The medals were created by designer Lee Suk-woo and feature letters from the Korean alphabet in a three-dimensional format.

The texture resembles tree trunks to reflect "the work that has gone into developing Korean culture and the Games themselves," according to the Games' official website. The back of the medal has the discipline, event and the PyeongChang 2018 emblem.

The medals that will be awarded during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Getty Images for Jeong Culture and Communication)

The website also notes that the ribbon from which the medal hangs is made of gapsa, a traditional South Korean fabric. The fabric is embroidered with Hangeul patterns.

The gold medal weighs 586 grams.

Q: Are there any new sports?

A: Four events have been added: Big air snowboarding (men and women), mass start speedskating (men and women), mixed doubles curling and the Alpine team event.

Luge, ski jumping and biathlon events will be at night and take place under floodlights. Short track and speed skating also will take place at night. Alpine skiing will take place during the day.

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Q: How can I watch the Olympics?

A: The Games will be broadcast by NBC with coverage on NBC, NBC Sports, CNBC and USA Network. The network is touting more than 1,800 hours of live streaming coverage on NBCSports.com and NBCOlympics.com. The Olympic Channel will debut for the Games and NBC is planning 20 hours of coverage daily. The NBC Sports App has livestream and on-demand coverage across all sports and all medal events.

Here is the breakdown by network:

  • NBC has 176 hours beginning Thursday at 8 p.m. Daytime coverage airs from 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays and 3 to 6 p.m. weekends; prime-time coverage begins at 8 p.m. daily and 7 p.m. Sundays; prime time plus coverage airs during the late-night time frame.
  • NBC Sports has 369 hours of coverage, including live prime-time coverage and 10 days of 24-hour coverage.
  • CNBC will have 46 hours total and will have curling from Feb. 12 to Feb. 23.
  • USA Network will have 40.5 hours of ice hockey and curling, much of it live. USA Network begins Saturday with the women’s hockey qualifying round.

Q: How many athletes are on Team USA?

A: Team USA has 243 athletes, the largest team any nation has ever sent to a Winter Olympics. For comparison purposes, Team USA had 550 athletes at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Q: Is Russia in the Olympics or not?

A: The International Olympic Committee in December barred Russia from the Games, citing systematic doping. Russian government officials are forbidden to attend, the Russian flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and the anthem will not sound. But as in 2016, the Olympic committee said that Russian athletes with a history of rigorous drug testing could petition for permission to compete. Surprising many people, a robust team of 168 Russians was cleared to participate.

Officially the athletes will not be the “Russia” team, but will instead be designated as “Olympic athletes from Russia.” In a sense, that’s a semantic and symbolic distinction. Russians who win gold will not hear their anthem played. But everyone will know they are Russian, and few will be confused by the unusual flags and uniforms.

Q: What’s next?

A: The 2020 Summer Games will be in Tokyo; the 2022 Winter Games will be in Beijing; the 2024 Summer Games will be in Paris and the 2028 Summer Games will be in Los Angeles.

Contributing: New York Times, Washington Post

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