The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will officially kick off on Friday, with 154 German athletes heading to Pyeongchang to compete for the gold in 15 disciplines. Sports reporter Claus Vetter of Der Tagesspiegel highlights a few to watch, like 45-year-old speed skater Claudia Pechstein, once banned from the Games following charges of doping.
This year, athletes from Russia will be competing under the neutral Olympic flag following the Russian team’s own doping scandal and resulting ban. Their absence has led some to speculate that the German team could surge ahead in the rankings; Vetter isn’t so sure.
At any rate, he says, this technicality shouldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of fans rooting for Russia: “I don’t think, in the perception, it makes any difference… if they win a medal, as a Russian…they win a medal.”
Photo of Claudia Pechstein by Bjarte Hetland.