SEOUL – Around 3,000 athletes are set to participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, making it the largest Winter Olympics in history, the organizing committee said Monday at the close of nominations.
A total of 2,925 athletes from 92 different countries will compete in these Games, which will take place from 9 to 25 February in PyeongChang in South Korea, the statement added.
This year’s event is expected to surpass the largest Winter Olympics held in Sochi in 2014, where 2,858 athletes from 88 countries had participated.
The United States will send its largest team ever to a Winter Games, with 242 athletes, followed by Canada with 226.
This edition of Winter Olympics will also be marked by Russia’s official absence owing to a ban by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over doping scandals, although 169 Russian athletes will compete under a neutral flag.
The IOC had also allowed the participation of 22 athletes from North Korea, who will compete in five different categories, including 12 female ice hockey players as part of a joint team with South Korea, and figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-ik who had qualified for the games.
The joint team from the two Koreas is a result of a historic agreement reached this month between the two countries – which technically have been at war for more than 65 years – facilitating the participation of the North in the Games that the South has called “The Games of Peace.”
Both Koreas have also agreed to march under the same flag, for the first time since the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, during the opening of ceremony of the Games on Feb. 9.
The host team of South Korea is also set to have a record number of 144 athletes at winter event.
PyeongChang 2018 will also award a record number of 102 gold medals, owing to the introduction of snowboard big air, mass start in speed skating, mixed doubles in curling and alpine skiing categories.