The Olympic Stadium at PyeongChang will host Friday some 35,000 spectators for the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony in South Korea, one of the largest cultural events in the world. It may be the coldest opening ceremony in 24 years, in near-freezing conditions. Officials have warned that the PyeongChang games could be dangerously cold, with up to 35 mph winds.
The expected cost is about $13 billion for South Korea to host. The United States has sent a delegation to be led by Vice President Mike Pence, while North Korea has dispatched Kim Yo Jong, the sister of authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, along with his ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong Nam, to represent the nation. Both will be seated at the opening ceremony near the nation's president, Moon Jae-in.
The opening ceremony will feature 2,900 athletes from about 90 nations. Marquee American names include skiiers Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, snowboarders Shaun White and Chloe Kim, and figure skater Nathan Chen. The 19-year-old ski jumper Casey Larson was named the 100,000th man to compete in the Olympics in the 122-year history of the modern games. Just nine hours before the opening ceremony, sports' highest court rejected appeals by 45 Russian athletes and two coaches who were banned from the games. CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb said that it “could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision.”