The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games was my 10th in total, Winter and Summer, 11th if you include the Youth Olympic Games, which I attended in 2014. Each Olympic Games is unique and, like a good novel, has story after story which characterise them in extraordinary historical terms. With Sydney 2000, it was the controversy around the contested land of Homebush Bay, juxtaposed against the eventual lighting of the Olympic cauldron by Cathy Freeman.
In Athens 2004 it was the feeling of the Games coming back to their origin with the shot put taking place within the Ancient stadium of Olympia, with Beijing 2008, China's first Olympic Games as host, it was the magnificence of the Opening Ceremony, set against the concerns about media freedom and human rights.
For London 2012, there was the transition from media to social media as the tipping point in content consumption, along with its controversial logo which made strides to transform how branding operated around the Olympic programme.
For Rio 2016, the first South American Games, discussions ensued around resident rights to remain, alongside concerns about corruption and the political turmoil surrounding the nation. These are just some of the stories that operate around the Games, some of which are matters of deep social concern, while others are snapshots of a society that help us understand more about a location, its people, and how the world makes sense of their values and political history.
PyeongChang 2018 was perhaps the most extraordinary of all in recent times, in terms of political discussions about how the Olympic Games contributes to global diplomacy. While sports officials are modest in their claims and expectations for Olympic participation to lead to significant political change, there does seem to have been an important series of outcomes from the conversation between North and South Korea, resulting from Olympic participation. I anticipate that this will be studied for many years to come, but watching what happens within this region for the next 5 years - and for future Olympic Games - will be fascinating.
While I was in PyeongChang, I made a series of videos, which cover subjects from virtual reality to Olympic diplomacy. You can find these on a dedicated page here.