One year out, 2018 Winter Olympics face a few uncertainties – Los Angeles Times
By most accounts, preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are progressing smoothly.
Still, with one year to go before competition begins, the upcoming Games face some uncertainty.
It remains unclear whether NHL players will take a break from the regular-season schedule to represent their countries. No big surprise — this has happened before — but as negotiations continue, a Plan B is taking shape for gathering alternate talent.
“The USA hockey team is focused on this, and they really have a pretty good idea where they want to go without the NHL,” said Alan Ashley, chief of sport performance for the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The Russian Olympic team is another potential question mark. Six months after much of the squad was barred from competing at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, its status for 2018 is a continuing subject of debate.
Given the country’s ongoing doping scandal — which included allegations of cheating inside a Sochi anti-doping lab during the 2014 Winter Games in Russia — there have been calls for another ban.
Regardless of who shows up, Pyeongchang will include a handful of new sports, including mixed doubles curling, an alpine skiing team event, mass-start speedskating and men’s and women’s big-air snowboarding.
“One thing I can tell you is, we have great athletes in those disciplines,” Ashley said. “We’re going to be able to field a really good team.”
While the weather is always a variable — especially at previous Winter Olympics that ran a bit short of snow — U.S. athletes and officials said they are optimistic about South Korea.
“I’ve only heard the snow in Asia can be incredible,” slalom star Mikaela Shiffrin said. “A lot of times it’s really dry and plentiful.”
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