(CNN)Although the opening ceremony isn’t until Friday, the 2018 Winter Olympics are under way, lasting through February 25. Here’s a quick guide, including location, new events, venues, how to watch the Games, the mascot and ticket sales. Competitions will be held at 13 venues for the Winter Games. For the first time, TV viewers in all US time zones will have access to live coverage of the Games, instead of a delayed replay.
What city is hosting? The host city this time is Pyeongchang, South Korea. Opening and closing ceremonies will be housed at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, a temporary structure with capacity for 35,000 spectators.The city is about 80 miles (125 kilometers) east of Seoul and about 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone that separated North and South Korea. A train between Seoul and Pyeongchang takes about 90 minutes. This will be the second Olympic Games held in South Korea. (Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics in 1988.) 2018 Winter Olympics
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The estimated cost of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is $10 billion, five times less than the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which were estimated to be the costliest.Read MoreWill North Korea be competing? The International Olympic Committee announced on January 20, 2018, that North Korea will participate in the Winter Olympics.North Korea will send 22 athletes who will compete in three sports, according to IOC President Thomas Bach. Athletes from the North and South will also march together under one flag at the opening ceremony for the Games. North Korean athletes will compete at Winter OlympicsFor the first time in Olympic history, the two nations will enter a joint women’s ice hockey team under the name Korea and represented by the unification flag.Of the 22 North Korean athletes, 15 will be women and seven will be men, the IOC said. They will be accompanied by 24 coaches and 21 media representatives.Will Russia be competing? The short answer, yes. But there is a catch. Russia was banned in December from taking part in the Games after the IOC found the country had engaged in “systemic manipulation” of anti-doping rules, though Russian athletes who can prove they are clean will be “invited” to compete under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia.” CAS to hear last-ditch Winter Olympics plea by 32 Russian athletesHealth concernsOver 1,000 security guards were replaced with military personnel after a norovirus outbreak at Olympic facilities in Pyeongchang. Organizers said 41 security guards suffered a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhea on Sunday and were taken to a hospital. Military deployed as norovirus outbreak hits Winter Olympic security guards Health officials on the Korean Peninsula are also battling two strains of influenza. North Korea is facing a potentially deadly strain of seasonal flu and South Korea has reported a highly contagious strain of bird flu (H5N6) in chicken farms near Seoul. Health officials have not issued travel restrictions or health warnings. Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsNathan Chen (figure skating): Chen is among a group of talented skaters looking to dethrone Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, the 2014 gold medalist. Chen might hold the trump card, however, in that he’s the only skater ever to land five quadruple jumps in a routine. He did that at the US Championships in January.Hide Caption 1 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsMikaela Shiffrin (Alpine skiing): Shiffrin comes into the Winter Olympics as the most dominant female skier in the world. The 22-year-old is the defending World Cup champion, and she is already out to a big lead this season. In 2014 she became the youngest woman to ever win Olympic gold in the slalom, and she’ll be looking to defend that title in PyeongChang — and also add gold in the giant slalom.Hide Caption 2 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsChloe Kim (snowboarding): Kim had the scores to qualify for the Olympic halfpipe team in 2014, but she wasn’t old enough to compete. Now, at 17, she is regarded by many to be the gold-medal favorite. She finished first at the Winter X Games last month.Hide Caption 3 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsShaun White (snowboarding): White has long been the face of the sport, the “flying tomato” on the halfpipe known for his flowing red hair. The hair is much shorter these days, and White, at 31, is almost something of an elder statesman as he goes into his fourth Olympic Games. He won Olympic gold in 2006 and 2010, but he finished fourth in 2014. Can he reclaim his crown?Hide Caption 4 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsBrittany Bowe (speedskating): Bowe collided with a teammate while training in 2016, and she was sidelined for months with post-concussion symptoms. It has been a long road to recovery, but Bowe is back and ready to reclaim her spot as one of the best sprinters in the world. The Sochi Games were disappointing for the USA speedskating team in 2014. They finished without a single medal. Bowe represents a chance for redemption. Teammate Heather Bergsma is a favorite in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters; she won both at the World Championships last year.Hide Caption 5 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsMaame Biney (short track): Biney made history in December when she became the first black woman to qualify for the US short-track team. The 18-year-old is America’s best hope for a medal in the 500 meters. A month after Biney’s milestone, speedskater Erin Jackson became the first black woman to qualify for the US Olympic team on the long track.Hide Caption 6 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsLindsey Vonn (Alpine skiing): Vonn is one of Team USA’s most recognizable Olympians. She won downhill gold at the 2010 Games in Vancouver — the first American woman ever to do so — but injury kept her out of the 2014 Games in Sochi. She has won more World Cup titles (20) than any skier in history.Hide Caption 7 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsAdam Rippon (figure skating): In January, Rippon became the first openly gay athlete to ever qualify for the US Winter Olympic team. He’s tough as nails: he dislocated his shoulder during an event last year, popped it back into place and continued skating his program. He finished in second place.Hide Caption 8 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsJamie Anderson (snowboarding): Anderson will be defending the slopestyle gold that she won in 2014, when the sport made its Olympic debut at the Sochi Games. She proved last month that she is still the favorite when she won gold at the Winter X Games. Hide Caption 9 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsElana Meyers Taylor (bobsled): Meyers Taylor won Olympic bronze in 2010 and silver in 2014. Will she continue trending up and bring home the gold? She finished first at the World Championships last year.Hide Caption 10 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsHilary Knight (ice hockey): Knight is one of the veterans of a women’s hockey team that has come agonizingly close to winning gold at the past two Olympics. She was the youngest member of the team in 2010, and in 2014 she was tied for the team lead in points.Hide Caption 11 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsBrian Gionta (ice hockey): The NHL decided not to send players to the Olympics this year, so Team USA is full of unknowns — many of whom play in pro leagues overseas. Hockey fans should be familiar with Gionta, though. The 39-year-old scored nearly 300 goals during his long NHL career. He will be the captain of Team USA in PyeongChang.Hide Caption 12 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsAlex and Maia Shibutani (ice dancing): These siblings have been skating together since 2004, and they will be among the ice-dancing favorites in PyeongChang. The “Shib Sibs” won bronze at the World Championships last year, and they won silver in 2016. They competed in the 2014 Olympics and finished in ninth.Hide Caption 13 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsJ.R. Celski (short track): Celski won three Olympic medals at the 2014 Sochi Games, but he’s still looking for his first gold. He is the world-record holder in the 500 meters.Hide Caption 14 of 15 Photos: American athletes to watch in the Winter OlympicsBradie Tennell (figure skating): Tennell skated to “Cinderella” at the US Championships last month, and it was the perfect choice for a skater who seemingly came out of nowhere to win the event and clinch a spot on the Olympic Team. The 20-year-old had only made her Grand Prix debut in November. She’ll lead a strong US team that also includes medal hopefuls Karen Chen and Mirai Nagasu.Hide Caption 15 of 15When will the first medals be awarded?A record 102 medals will be awarded in 15 disciplines. (See the latest medal count.) The first is expected to be won on Saturday, February 10, early morning Eastern Time, for a cross country skiing event, the women’s 7.5km + 7.5 Skiathlon.Which nation is likely to win the most medals?Look away now Russia … PyeongChang 2018 medal predictionsWith some Russian athletes banned by the IOC in December, the top nation from the 2014 Winter Olympics will be absent from the podium. Using the results from key competitions over the past four years, data company Gracenote is predicting Germany will take home the most medals, followed by Norway and the United States. What will Team USA be wearing during the opening ceremony?Ralph Lauren designed Team USA’s opening and closing ceremony uniforms for the sixth time. And unique to this year’s design is the way wearable technology has been seamlessly integrated. Athletes will remain warm thanks to innovative heat technology incorporated into the design of their parkas and bomber jackets. The jackets went through rigorous testing to make sure they were safe before being worn by Olympians.When do the Games take place? Competition for the 2018 Games started on Thursday, February 8 — with competitions in curling and ski jumping.Opening ceremonies will take place the next day, Friday, February 9. Closing ceremonies will be Sunday, February 25. Other details: The men’s ice hockey final will take place on the last day of competition. Luge, ski jumping and biathlon events will take place at night, under floodlights, according to the Games’ website. See more about the schedule hereWhat’s the time difference?South Korea is 14 hours ahead of New York. It’s 15 hours ahead of Chicago. It’s 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles. It’s nine hours ahead of London. How to watch For those in the United States, NBC will broadcast the games on TV and online. In Canada they will be on CBC. In the United Kingdom, fans can watch the Games on BBC TV and digital platforms.Are there any new events this year? There are four events added by the International Olympic Committee for 2018. On the slopes, athletes will now be able to compete in big air snowboarding and freestyle skiing.On the ice, get ready for mass start speed skating and mixed doubles curling. Overall, the athletes in Pyeongchang will compete in seven sports — biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing — with 15 varied disciplines across all sports. The competitors each will be hoping to take home at least one of the 102 medals up for grabs. What do the medals look like? Created by designer Lee Suk-woo, the medals for these Games feature dynamic diagonal lines and three-dimensional consonants from the Korean alphabet that stretch across the face, according to the official website. They’ve been crafted with a texture to resemble tree trunks, symbolizing “the work that has gone into developing Korean culture and the Games themselves,” the website said. Between the bronze, silver and gold medals, the gold weighs the most — at 586 grams. Overall, 259 sets of medals have been cast for these Games.The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic gold medalFinancial hurdlesSouth Korea has already managed to overcome a few major hurdles, including construction delays, logistical conflicts and lack of enthusiasm from sponsors. But early ticket sales have been slow. Organizers are $267 million short of the $2.4 billion budget needed to operate the Games. Still, previous host cities that faced similar financial issues saw a large increase in ticket sales during the final months leading up to the Games. Former Olympic figure skater Yuna Kim introduces Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang the white tiger.What is the mascot?The 2018 mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang. The tiger is “closely associated with Korean mythology and culture” and is a “familiar figure in Korean folk tales as a symbol of trust, strength and protection,” according to the Games website. Honorary ambassadorsAlong with former Olympic figure skater Yuna Kim, honorary ambassadors for these Games include South Korean President Moon Jae-in, former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu. K-pop star Taeyang lends support to 2018 Winter OlympicsAnother honorary ambassador, South Korean K-pop star Taeyang, is a member of Big Bang, South Korea’s biggest boy band. He’s also the first K-pop act to be featured on Forbes’ prestigious Celebrity 100 list.Where and when did the first Winter Games take place? The 2018 Games in Pyeongchang will be the 23rd Winter Olympics. The first Winter Olympics took place in Chamonix, France, in 1924. Where will future Games be held?After South Korea, the Winter Games move to Beijing in 2022. You might remember Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008. The next Summer Games will be in Tokyo in 2020, followed by Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.