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What the 2018 Olympic Ceremony means to Koreans

Bob Trosset

What the 2018 Olympic Ceremony means to Koreans

Last night, the small province of PyeongChang took the world by storm as it hosted the Opening Ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

It is well-documented by now that the Koreans have placed a major emphasis on the theme of unity and its signifance surrounding the Games.

On this night, though, unity seemed to be much more than just a theme.

Mid-way through the ceremony, Olympians from all 92 countries began to make the coveted walk out to the roars of the Olympic Stadium, each led by an esteemed flag bearer.

There were plenty of memorable moments to keep the internet busy.

The Nigerians are represented by their bobsled team for the first time in the country’s history.

The Russians entered the stadium led by a neutral Olympic flag hoisted in the air. They sported plain white uniforms with no sign of the country’s flag. This, of course, is a direct result of Russia’s doping scandal.

Pita, the shirtless Tongan who took social media by storm at Rio’s Closing Ceremony nearly two years ago, makes his Winter Olympics debut in cross-country skiing.

He carried his country’s flag out while shirtless and in sandals, naturally.

The USA broke a Winter Olympic record qualifying a grand total of 242 athletes. Erin Hamlin served as flag bearer.

The defining moment of the Opening Ceremony came when the 92nd and final team made its historic march.

The North and South Koreans entered the stadium under one unified flag. Together.

As conflicted Koreans digested this powerful gesture, the rest of the world was introduced to North Korean civilians in the most epic of ways.

I had a chance to take all of this in with several of my new local Korean friends.

This is what I tweeted during the ceremony:

“Both North & South Koreans marching together. Hard to describe this moment. My new Korean friends I’m with are completely silent. Taking in every second. Hands covering their mouths. #OpeningCeremony”

Historic. Surreal. Emotional. Captivating. The 2018 Winter Olympics.

Buckle up. It’s about to be a magical 18 days at PyeongChang 2018.

Consider following along while I’m on the ground:

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U.S. men's hockey pulls out win after entering 3rd period tied

U.S. men's hockey pulls out win after entering 3rd period tied

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- Ryan Donato scored two power-play goals and Troy Terry dominated with his speed as college players led the United States to an important 2-1 victory over Slovakia on Friday at the Olympics.

Donato, who plays for his father Ted at Harvard, delivered the kind of offense USA Hockey wanted when it picked four NCAA players for its no-NHL Olympic roster. Donato, Terry and American Hockey League scoring star Chris Bourque were all additions to the U.S. after the pre-Olympic Deutschland Cup in November, during which the U.S. struggled to score, particularly against Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco.

Laco was on top of his game, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced. Only this time, the Americans' young skill that coach Tony Granato hoped would bring energy and spark the team came through.

Goalie Ryan Zapolski made 21 saves for his first Olympic victory, which is crucial considering only the top four of 12 teams avoid the qualification round Monday. With the regulation win, the U.S. vaults to the top of Group B with four points. Slovakia was second with three, followed by Slovenia and Russia.

The U.S. faces Russia in each team's final preliminary-round game Saturday night.

The Americans didn't have a shot on net until six-plus minutes into the game when defenseman Noah Welch finally got the puck to Laco.

All it took to get the U.S. offense going was a Slovakia penalty that gave Terry and Donato some room to operate. Terry sped through the offensive zone and took two Slovakia defenders with him, dropping the puck to a wide-open Donato for his first power-play goal of the game to put the U.S. up 1-0 at 7:10.

Just 25 seconds later, Andrej Kudrna scored on a tip of a Tomas Surovy shot that slipped under Zapolski's right arm for a tying goal the 31-year-old goalie probably wants back.

Bobby Butler had a semi-breakaway late in the first and Laco got his blocker on it. A couple of second-period power plays yielded offensive-zone time but not a goal, and a borderline goalie interference penalty on Boston University's Jordan Greenway made penalty killers work hard to keep it tied.

After a too many men on the ice call on Slovakia, Bourque, another son of a former NHL player, fed Donato, who spun around in front and went five-hole on Laco to score the game-winning goal with 17:09 left.

Team USA Women outshoot but can't outscore Team Canada in first meeting at 2018 Olympics

USA Today

Team USA Women outshoot but can't outscore Team Canada in first meeting at 2018 Olympics

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- Meghan Agosta and Sara Nurse each scored in the second period and defending Olympic champion Canada clinched the top spot in pool play by edging the United States 2-1 on Thursday in an early showdown between the dominant powers in women's hockey.

Genevieve Lacasse made 44 saves, including stopping Hilary Knight at the post inside the final 90 seconds. Brianne Decker hit two posts, the second time coming in the final seconds, before the two rivals ended up in a scrum. Officials reviewed the final play and ruled no goal. The Canadians also had two goals disallowed.

Kendall Coyne scored the lone goal for the Americans.

Canada and the United States are the only countries to ever win gold at the Olympics. The Americans won gold in 1998 when women's hockey joined the Olympics, while Canada is here looking for a fifth straight gold medal for the country that created the sport.

They played eight times last fall through a pre-Olympic exhibition tour and the Four Nations Cup. The United States won two of the first three, but Canada now has won five straight against their biggest -- and only -- rival in the sport.

The United States certainly had plenty of chances, including Knight being stopped on a breakaway.

After missing on a penalty shot and hitting a post late in the second, the Americans got on the board when Coyne raced through four Canadians and scored 23 seconds into the third period.

Canada thought briefly it had the first goal of the game with 3:15 left in the first period, but Melodie Daoust and captain Marie-Philip Poulin were in the crease with the play blown dead. The official immediately signaled no goal.

Agosta put Canada up 1-0 at 7:18 of the second on the power play. With Megan Keller in the box for interfering with Poulin, Natalie Spooner in her 100th international game spun and hit Agosta in the slot with a backhanded pass. Agosta's shot went off Rooney's glove and in for the goal.

Nurse scored at 14:56 with a shot from the left circle that went off Rooney's elbow. Laura Stacey appeared to be offside as Canada brought the puck into the zone, but the United States did not challenge.

Officials awarded Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson a penalty shot at 16:08 of the second after Canadian forward Haley Irwin placed a glove on top of the puck in the crease amid a pile of bodies in the crease. Lamoureux-Davidson, who scored the fastest back-to-back goals in Olympic history in the U.S. win over Russia, went too slow and got the puck caught near her right foot before a backhand Lacasse easily deflected.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber started Maddie Rooney, his youngest goalie with all three of the U.S. wins against Canada.