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Olympic notebook: Pyeongchang vs. PyeongChang, more gold for Kurka, and some salty language

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: February 12
  • Published February 11

The official logo of the Pyeongchang Olympics, shown here at a press conference featuring country skiers Kikkan Randall, left, and Jessie Diggins, uses a modified spelling of the South Korean city. (Carlos Gonzalez/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

To borrow (and tweak) a phrase from Chevy Chase: It was my understanding that there would be no spelling.

Yet here we are, a couple of days into the Winter Olympics, and we are struggling with the name of the South Korea city hosting the Games.

Is it Pyeongchang or PyeongChang?

Most news sources, including the Associated Press, are using Pyeongchang. Wikipedia goes with the lowercase C as well.

But the official logo uses the upper-case C: PyeongChang. You're seeing that version everywhere — on TV, on race bibs, on signs at every venues.

So what gives?

According to various reports, Pyeongchang became PyeongChang in 2007 when the city made its second bid for the Olympics. It did so to avoid confusion with Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

That marked the second alteration to the city's name in seven years.

The English version used to be Pyongchang. In 2000, according to Business Insider, Pyongchang became Pyeonchang when South Korea changed the phonetic translation of certain words.

When the Olympics are over, Business Insider reported, the city will keep the "e" but lose the uppercase C.

Slopestyle gold-medalist Red Gerard. (Mike Blake / Reuters)

Holy &%#%!

When 17-year-old Red Gerard triple-corked his way to a gold medal in snowboard slopestyle on Saturday, NBC viewers heard some salty language at the finish line.

Studio host Mike Tirico offered an apology and reporters around the world took notice.

The moment was reminiscent of when snowboarding made its Olympic debut 20 years ago in Nagano, Japan.

At a press conference to introduce the U.S. team to the media, 18-year-old Russ Powers dropped an F-bomb out of exasperation when he got tongue-tied while answering a question.

The IOC and some media members were aghast. And life went on.

More gold for Kurka

Paralympics-bound sit-skier Andrew Kurka of Palmer added another gold medal to his collection Sunday.

Kurka won the first of two super-G races at the Para-Alpine World Cup Finals in Kimberley, British Columbia. In the second race, he finished sixth.

Kurka will leave Kimberley with three medals from four races. In Saturday's two downhill races, he won gold and bronze.

Kurka won't return to Alaska before heading to South Korea for the March 9-18 Paralympic Games, which will use the same venues in use at the Olympics. He said he'll train in Aspen, Colorado, with the rest of Team USA's skiers and then head to Pyeongchang.

It will be the second Paralympics for Kurka, 26, who suffered a spinal injury at age 13. He didn't get to compete in the 2014 Sochi Games because he broke his back in a downhill training crash.

And the list grows

Add another name to the list of UAA athletes who competed in the Olympics: cross-country skier Brian Gregg, a 2014 Olympian who competed at UAA in 2005 and 2006.

A reader reminded us about Gregg, and we thank him, because there is no official list of Alaska Olympians or UAA Olympians.

The ADN maintains a list of Alaska Olympians, as do some other news organizations in Alaska, but it's quite likely those lists vary. The criteria is a bit subjective because Olympic athletes, like regular people, tend to relocate.

That's why Michelle Granger, a pitcher for the 1996 U.S. gold-medal softball team, is on our list of Summer Olympians but may not be on someone else's list.

Granger moved to Anchorage in 1993 after her husband, a lawyer, landed a job here. They lived here for three years, a period that included the Atlanta Games, and Granger spent winters here finding ways to train for an outdoor summer sport.

She'd shovel her backyard and put up a net to throw at, she'd put on metal cleats to practice at the Park Strip; she'd toss pitch after pitch inside a neighborhood church.

And so when the Atlanta Games rolled around, we claimed Granger as our own because she lived here. We've kept her on our list for the same reason.

Ryan Stassel struggled in slopestyle but gets another chance in big air. ( Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports)

Social networking

Reactions and insights shared on Instagram by Alaska Olympians, including Fairbanks skier Reese Hanneman's reaction to complaints and reports about how cold it is in Pyeongchang:

reesehanneman: "alright who just complained about it being 'cold' out here?" #itisthe#winterolympics #afterall #❄️#youeverbeentofairbanks?

scottgpatterson: 18th! Psyched with the first race and looking forward to more!

ryanstassel: Well… this was definitely not how I want to start my winter games. There's nothing that sucks more than to miss your first trick on both qualy runs. If this was the end of my games, I'd definitely be pretty upset but thankfully it's not over. Time to reset, refocus and get ready for BIG AIR!

Recommended on Twitter

Saturday Night Live's Leslie Jones is live-tweeting the Olympics @Lesdoggg. As in snowboarding, parental discretion is advised.

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