The 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony is just around the corner, and the top athletes from all over the world will be coming together to represent their countries in South Korea. The United States has 243 athletes heading over to PyeongChang, and fans will be cheering on the USA in their best red, white, and blue gear.
Before you tune into the opening ceremony, which will air on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m EST on NBC, we want to make sure you have some Olympic trivia down pat so you don’t look like a complete rookie. We’ll start off with the dates of the competition. This year, the Winter Games will run for 19 days, ending with the highly anticipated closing ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 25.
If you need a fun icebreaker at your viewing party, it’s important to know that South Korea plans to break the record for most condoms distributed in Winter Olympics history. Because, you know, safety first. Also, you should really catch up on Adam Rippon, Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, and Erin Jackson — who will all be going for gold in 2018!
However, there is more to the international sporting event than hot athletes and contraception. Keep scrolling below to see more fun facts you need to know about the Winter Olympics!
How many countries competed in the first Winter Olympics?
The very first Winter Games were held in 1924 in France — that’s nearly 100 years ago! Known as I Olympic Winter Games, the sporting event featured 258 athletes competing in 16 events, including speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey, and cross-country skiing. The United States was one of the 16 countries competing in the first-ever Winter Games and was joined by others including Great Britain, Italy, Canada, and of course, the host France.
However, the United States did not come out on top at the competition, placing fifth with only one gold medal, while Norway took the top spot with four. Some of the highlights from the 1924 Olympics included a then 11-year-old Sonja Henie competing in ladies’ figure skating and the Canadian hockey team not allowing a single goal against their team.
What do the Olympic rings represent?
The Olympic flag features the iconic logo of the Games — five interlaced rings in the colors blue, yellow, black, green and red. The rings represent the five continents of the world (Africa, Asia, America, Oceania and Europe) and the colors were featured on all the flags of the countries competing at the time of its creation in 1912. The rings are also symbolic of the motto of the Olympics, which is Citius, Altius, Fortius. That’s Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”
What’s going on with the norovirus at the Olympics?
Currently, there is a norovirus outbreak in South Korea — and the contagious stomach flu has caused organizers to replace the affected security guards with 900 military personnel. “The military personnel… will be responsible for security checks of the 20 venues as they take up jobs such as security searches, previously done by civilian safety personnel until the patients’ condition is normalized,” a statement read. “KCDC [Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention] dispatched an immediate response team to the Pyeongchang site to check additional people for symptoms, check the origin of the exposure, take measures to control infection, and prevent spread.” The water and food at the event are also being tested.
Where are the next Winter Olympics?
Already planning for the next Winter Games? Well, keep your eyes on Beijing where the 2022 Winter Games will take place. The Chinese city will host the games for the two-week period — becoming just the fourth Asian city to do so. There might also be some new events at the Olympics, with big air freestyle skiing and natural track luge currently in contention.
And most importantly, will Leslie Jones be at the Olympics?
Our favorite fan Leslie Jones will be making her way to South Korea to help NBC with Olympics news coverage. The SNL star stole the show at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, so it is no surprise the network brought her back. “Experiencing the Olympics through the lens of Leslie is unlike anything else,” president of NBC Olympics programming Jim Bell said in a statement. “Her passion for Team USA is contagious, and her adventures in South Korea should be fascinating.”
USA! USA! USA!