Notes from Pyeongchang: Pre-competition days

Feb 9, 2018

The sliding center and jumping venue are directly across from the hotel.
Credit Ruthie Brown
EDITOR'S NOTE: We are excited to share the travels of Simi Hamilton’s family to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing dispatches from Ruthie Brown and family as they give you a first-hand, “behind-the-scenes” look at the Olympics.         

  We have arrived in PyeongChang! Easy travels from the Seoul Inchon airport to the Mountain Cluster Olympic Center in Alpensia. Spending a week in Japan backcountry skiing has helped, so that we don't have to adjust to the time and we’ve hit the ground running! The cross country, jumping and sliding events are all based out of this area. These are the 23rd Olympic Winter Games. The first were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. This is the third Olympics our family has experienced, so we are starting to feel like veterans.  

Pin trading is an important part of the Olympic experience. People from all nations collect pins from various sporting events. Each pin is coveted for its uniqueness and design. Al Beyer and James Foerster found numerous pin collectors outside the Olympic plaza. The plaza is closed until after the opening ceremonies but hundreds of people gathered on the street outside the stadium to watch the Olympic Torch be carried by.
Credit Ruthie Brown
It’s the second time South Korea has held an Olympics. The first was the summer Olympics in 1988. North Korea had hoped to co-host the Games but were turned down. Outraged, they downed a Korean airliner and killed 115 people, but it did not dissuade the Olympic spirit and they were able to host a successful Games.  
I was interviewed on live television by an interesting group bringing awareness to animal rights. They were interested to know why Americans didn’t eat dogs. It was easy to explain that in our culture dogs are raised as part of the family, involved in our daily lives as trusted companions, loving us unconditionally as our best friends (even sleep on our beds!), not our evening meals.
Credit Ruthie Brown