Winter Olympics Cheat Sheet: How to watch, stream, athletes, dates, TV schedule

 In U.S.

OK, so the Olympics are in full swing, and you still don’t know how to pronounce Pyeongchang. Or, you’re not sure what event Shaun White competes in No worries, we’ve got you covered. With this handy little cheat sheet, you’ll now be able to impress your friends with some impressive Olympics knowledge. So get ready to have all the questions you have, all the questions you think you have, and all the questions you should have answered as we dive into the Winter Games with our Cliff Notes for the 2018 Olympics.

Where are the 2018 Winter Olympics?

Great place to start. This year’s international competition will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Located just over 100 miles from Seoul, Pyeongchang is actually a county in a northeastern province of South Korea. Seoul is the nation’s capital and the home of the 1988 Summer Olympics. Pyeongchang has a population of about 43,000, and its local claim to fame is its average elevation of 700 meters, which apparently offers residents “one of the best places for health, rest and sports in the world.”

Side note: You’ll see a lot of logos that stylize Pyeongchang as “PyeongChang,” with an upper-case “C,” but the county officially has only the “P” capitalized. Get ready for a nightmare of misspellings.

For those of you who aren’t fluent in Korean, that’s PYUNG-CHUNG.

When are the Olympics?

The entire slate of Winter Games competition will be broadcast across various NBC platforms from Feb. 8-25, with some curling and the Opening Ceremony coming first. (Note: The ceremony will actually be seen Friday, Feb. 9, at 6 a.m. Eastern — or at 8 p.m., replayed — for those watching in the United States.)

If you’re talking times specifically, you’ll want to note that, since the Olympics will be broadcast live from South Korea, there will be a 14-hour difference between local time and Eastern time. Here’s the full breakdown of time differences:

Eastern time: 14 hours 
Central time: 15 hours
Mountain time: 16 hours
Pacific time: 17 hours

Pyeongchang time is also ahead of all those time zones, so if NBC is broadcasting live at 8 p.m. ET, that means it is actually 10 a.m. the following day in Pyeongchang. An event broadcast live at 8 a.m. ET, meanwhile, would actually be a 10 p.m. event in South Korea.

How can I watch the Olympics?

If you’re planning on watching live, the first thing you can do is make sure to clock some nap time during the afternoon.

In all seriousness, we’ve got an entire breakdown of how to watch the 2018 Winter Games right here at CBSSports.com, but here’s the gist of your options for tuning in:

  • You can watch on TV, where NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA Network will share live programming, including prime-time coverage
  • You can watch online at NBCOlympics.com, on the NBC Sports app or through fuboTV, which you can try for free

What happens at the Opening Ceremony?

Traditionally, the ceremony, which marks the official beginning of the Olympics, includes:

  • The Parade of Nations, in which participating athletes march alongside other representatives of their country
  • Speeches from the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Organizing Committee
  • The Olympic Flame, usually lit with a torch by a prominent local athlete and kept burning until the end of the Games
  • The raising of the Olympic flag
  • A symbolic release of doves, which dates back to ancient Games as a method of signaling a country’s victory

The Opening Ceremony is also best known for serving as a platform for the host city/area’s culture. Being that the 2018 Olympics are in South Korea, reports suggest we could be in for some K-pop performances, but the most prominent sight could be North and South Korea jointly marching together — a union that some aren’t too keen on but represents a historic partnership between the neighboring nations.

So what’s the deal with Russia?

Hey, up until this week, we were still trying to figure this one out, too.

Two years after more than 100 of their athletes were banned from the 2016 Rio Games as a result of performance-enhancing drug use at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, we know that Russia has officially been barred from participation in the Pyeongchang Games after a deeper investigation into a “state-backed doping program.” That means, no matter what, the International Olympic Committee will never, ever attribute any Russian accomplishments at the 2018 Games to Russia. The country’s medal count from South Korea will always, at least on paper, be zero.

putin-russia.jpg

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses with Olympic athletes who will take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.
Getty Images

What we didn’t know entering this week was just how many Russian athletes would still be attending the Winter Olympics thanks to “special dispensation” from the IOC. Again, they won’t be permitted to earn Russia any medals, and they’ll also be required to compete in neutral uniforms, but more than 165 athletes from Russia are set to compete in South Korea. That total comes after the IOC rejected a request to allow 15 additional Russians, who were previously among more than 40 issued lifetime Olympic bans, to partake in this year’s Games.

Still with us? Let’s recap in simpler terms: Russia was caught cheating and they won’t be represented as a nation at the Games, but they will be sending plenty of athletes, who will compete under neutral colors. Oh, and Vladimir Putin probably isn’t happy.

Is anyone else not going to the Olympics?

Technically, everyone else is headed to Pyeongchang, but that doesn’t mean certain countries didn’t consider staying home, and when we say “certain countries,” we mean the United States.

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