The weather, as it turned out, was no match for the hosts. Pyeongchang closed one of the more gracious, efficient and warmhearted Olympics in recent memory Sunday, ending South Korea’s first Winter Games with a joyous celebration of a job well done.
Victories in unexpected sports such as curling and cross-country – along with a dramatic win in women’s hockey – helped the U.S. forge a late rally and avoid what might otherwise have been a disappointing, if not embarrassing, 2018 Winter Olympics.
The overtly political 2018 Winter Olympics closed Sunday night very much as they began, with humanity’s finest athletes marching exuberantly across the world stage as three nations with decades of war and suspicion among them shared a VIP box – and a potential path away from conflict.
The International Olympic Committee on Sunday upheld the ban of Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Games because of doping, denying the 168 athletes competing here as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” the right to march in the closing ceremony under their country’s flag.
The Olympics nearly over, it’s not just athletes who will be reviewing their performance. NBC says the Pyeongchang games was a profit-maker, despite some ratings decreases. The two weeks made stars of some NBC performers, hurt the reputations of others.
The International Olympic Committee has left a decision on whether to reinstate Russia to the Pyeongchang Olympics until the day of the closing ceremony. The IOC is leaving all options open. It could readmit the Russian team, continue the ban or hedge with what it calls a “partial solution.” There have been two positive doping tests at the Pyeongchang Games by Russian athletes.