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These Winter Olympics will be chock-full of firsts

One of the coolest parts of the Olympics is watching history being made. Whether it's a new country making their Olym...

Posted: Feb. 9, 2018 5:50 AM
Updated: Feb. 9, 2018 5:50 AM

One of the coolest parts of the Olympics is watching history being made. Whether it's a new country making their Olympic debut or groundbreaking athletes adding new faces and experiences to the Olympic story, it's enough to get you feeling a little warm and fuzzy about humankind.

In fact, Pyeongchang is home to a few firsts itself:

  • This is the first Winter Games for South Korea (they had the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul).
  • The 2018 games marks a first for four Olympic events: big air snowboarding, big air freestyle skiing, mixed doubles curling, and mass start speedskating races.
  • With these new competitions, it's no surprise this is also the first Winter Olympics with more than 100 medal events.

As the games kick off, here are some more neat Olympic firsts to watch for:

First Winter Olympics for six countries

Ecuador: Cross country skiing (Klaus Jungbluth)

Eritrea: Alpine skiing (Shannon-Ogbani Abeda)

Kosovo: Alpine skiing (Albin Tahiri)

Malaysia: Alpine skiing (Jeffrey Webb)

Singapore: Short track speed skating (Cheyenne Goh)

Nigeria: Women's bobsled team and skeleton (Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga and Simidele Adeagbo)

Nigerian athletes are having an especially big year. Their women's bobsled team is the first African bobsled team at the Winter Olympics. And Adeagbo, the skeleton athlete, is the first female skeleton slider from Africa to qualify for the Olympics.

First time representations

First openly gay US athletes in the Winter Olympics: Gus Kenworthy (freestyle skiing) and Adam Rippon (figure skating).

READ MORE: Adam Rippon speaks out against Mike Pence

First indigenous Australian to compete in the Winter Olympics: Harley Windsor (figure skating)

First Orthodox Jewish athlete: A.J. Edelman, who is also Israel's first Olympic skeleton slider.

First Vatican delegation: Though it won't send any athletes, this is the first year a delegation from the Vatican has been invited to the opening ceremony and will attend the IOC's general meeting in an observational role.

Firsts for national athletes

First Tongan to qualify for both summer and winter games (and Tonga's only representative this year): Pita Taufatofua, who will be competing in cross-country skiing. You probably remember him from when his bare, oily torso won the opening ceremonies at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. This time around, he'll probably be a little more bundled up.

First skeleton athlete from Ghana, and the ONLY African man competing in the Winter Olympics: Akwasi Frimpong

First skeleton athlete from Jamaica: Anthony Watson

First black women to qualify for the US Olympic speedskating team: Erin Jackson and Maame Biney

First female Jamaican bobsled team: Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell

First black US hockey player in the Olympics: Jordan Greenway

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