Feb 9 Olympics: 2018 Winter Games kick off with Opening Ceremony

35,000 fans will pack into the frigid PyeongChang Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony.

The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are finally here.  

The 2018 Games kick off with the opening ceremony on Friday. The ceremony will be the only event broadcast on primetime TV, but you will be able to watch several competition events online, including curling and snowboarding. 

Here's what you need to know for Friday:

What to watch for during the opening ceremony

Fri. 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT | Watch on NBC

Thirty-five thousand fans will pack into the frigid PyeongChang Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony. It will feature timeless Olympic traditions, like the lighting of the Olympic cauldron and the parade of nations, and performances that combine Korean history with modern culture.

Here's what you should watch for:

  • North and South Korean delegations will march together.
  • Four-time Olympic luger Erin Hamlin will carry the U.S. flag into Friday's opening ceremony. Her selection was followed by some controversy (read more below).
  • Pita Taufatofua, the shirtless Tongan flag bearer from the 2016 Olympics whose photo went viral, will be back at the opening ceremony after he qualified in cross-country skiing. 
  • 168 Russian athletes invited to compete at the games as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" will march under a neutral Olympic flag. 

Because of the 14-hour time difference between South Korea and the East Coast, the show you'll see on NBC Friday night is pre-recorded. But if you're committed to watching it live, you can stream the opening ceremony starting at 6 a.m. ET / 3 a.m. PT Friday on NBCOlympics.com

Team USA flagbearer controversy

Four-time Olympic luger Erin Hamlin will carry the U.S. flag into Friday's opening ceremony.

Her selection was followed by some controversy, when a tweet posted to speedskater Shani Davis' account said the process used to pick Hamlin wasn't fair.

Hamlin and Davis were the two finalists and received a tie number of votes. A coin toss was the tiebreaker. Hamlin won.

In a tweet, Hamlin wrote that she's "beyond grateful to be a part of this team and incredibly proud to have the privilege of leading every amazing TeamUSA athlete into that stadium tonight."

Snowboarding begins with men's slopestyle qualifying rounds

Fri. 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT | Watch on NBCOlympics.com

Get ready to watch snowboarders ride through a terrain park, completing tricks off jumps and rails along the way. Slopestyle was new to the Olympics in 2014, and three American men swept the podium.

Everyone will be watching to see if the American men sweep the slopestyle competition again in PyeongChang. Keep an eye on Red Gerard, a 17-year-old with his own terrain park in his backyard. This is his first Olympics, and he could potentially be the youngest American snowboarder to win a medal.

Men's slopestyle is just one of 10 different snowboarding events. Other events include halfpipe and big air. 

American brother-sister curling team's chance at making semifinals lessens

Fri. 7:05 p.m. ET / 4:05 p.m. PT | Watch on NBCOlympics.com

Sibling team Matt and Becca Hamilton from Wisconsin continue to compete in the mixed doubles curling round robin tournament. There are only eight teams participating in the tournament, and the American duo is in the process of playing against each team.

They've won one game and lost three. On Wednesday, the Hamiltons lost to Canada. But they defeated Russia on Thursday. They also lost to South Korea and Switzerland.

On Friday night, they'll play China. The round robin tournament continues through the weekend, and semifinals start on Monday Feb. 12. 

For a full rundown of the day's events, visit the schedule on NBCOlympics.com. 

Contributing: Associated Press



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