Trail Blazers hold off the Hornets in overtime Its agents blew up a South Korean airliner ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics in an attempt to dissuade visitors; then it boycotted its rival’s Olympic debut on the world stage. A few years later, the discovery of the huge progress Pyongyang had been surreptitiously making on its nuclear programs plunged the Korean Peninsula into crisis. It has only deepened over the years as the North closes in on the ability to field an arsenal of nukes that can hit U.S. cities.And so, with a little help from a liberal South Korean president eager to engage Pyongyang, the 2018 Pyeongchang Games open.They do so with as much focus on the North, which has zero real medal contenders, as the South, which in the three decades since its last Olympics has built a solid winter program as it went from economic backwater and military dictatorship to Asia’s fourth-biggest economy and a bulwark of liberal democracy.Could Pyeongchang’s initial pitch — that it could contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula — actually become reality? The opening ceremony will offer at least some hints about that, and maybe more. What’s certain is that these Games, more so than any in recent memory, are about far more than sports.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The isolated, rugged mountain town of Pyeongchang, one of the poorest, coldest and most disgruntled parts of an otherwise prosperous South Korea, will be a global player for two weeks of winter sports, Olympic spectacle and, just maybe, a bit of inter-Korean reconciliation.There will be plenty of sporting drama for both die-hard snow and ice junkies and the once-every-four-years enthusiast.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkWill the Russians who aren’t Russians — the 168 who have been invited as “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” competing in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag — bring home gold? Will Patrick Chan of Canada hit his quad jumps and claim figure skating glory?Can reigning men’s gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan overcome injury and defend his title against Chan? Will the past and present star of American skiing, Lindsey Vonn, be surpassed by the likely future of the sport, Mikaela Shiffrin? Nonito Donaire vs Naoya Inoue is BWAA 2019 Fight of the Year But the athletic aspect of these games has been overshadowed in the buildup to the opening ceremony by a frenzied, increasingly momentous fire-hose spray of political developments. The rival Koreas, flirting with war just weeks ago, are suddenly making overtures toward the no-longer-quite-so-absurd notion of cooperation.North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister, making an unprecedented visit to South Korean soil, will now likely attend the same opening ceremony as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who’s vowing toughest-ever sanctions on the North. Could they meet? That and other theories have engulfed South Korean media.Pyeongchang was not supposed to share the spotlight with Pyongyang. This was not supposed to be, as some in Seoul grumble, the “Pyongyang Games,” a play on the North Korean capital’s phonetic similarity to Pyeongchang.After two failed Olympic bids that emphasized the high-sounding notion that the games could help make peace with North Korea, Pyeongchang finally sold its successful try in 2011 on the decidedly capitalistic goal of boosting winter sports tourism in Asia.But North Korea has a habit of not letting itself be ignored when it comes to its southern rival.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Top Pentagon general: US maintains ‘high levels of readiness’ regarding N. Korea PLAY LIST 01:11Top Pentagon general: US maintains ‘high levels of readiness’ regarding N. Korea00:50Trending Articles01:35U.S. urges Japan, South Korea to share intel02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Newsome sets focus on helping Bolts open new PBA season on right track FILE – In this Feb. 4, 2018, file photo, a human figure appears to be climbing an Olympic Cauldron at the Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza as preparations continue for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. After two failed bids, hundreds of millions of dollars and a nagging national debate about whether it’s all even worth it, the Olympics will finally open Friday, Feb. 9, in a ceremony meant to showcase South Korea’s rise from dictatorship, poverty and war to one of Asia’s leading powers. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The world starts watching now. At least, when it comes to sports.After two failed bids, billions of dollars in preparation and a nagging national debate about whether it’s all worth it, the Winter Olympics open Friday in Pyeongchang with a gala ceremony meant to showcase South Korea’s rise from poverty and war into one of Asia’s most modern nations.ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Michael Porter Jr. stays patient as playing time increases Almazan vows to comeback stronger after finals heartbreak MOST READ OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson View comments
PASADENA – Y’all come back now, ya’ hear? Those were the closing words in this space after the Rose Bowl one year ago. It was a message to Texas and its fans, who before the game felt somewhat unloved, unappreciated and unwelcome around town because of their disputed Rose Bowl selection over Cal. This time it’s indisputable. A year before that, USC walked away from the Rose Bowl with a victory over Michigan, but with just a share of the national championship because of a disputed Bowl Championship Series finish in which the Trojans did not earn a berth to the title game. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson USC is the back-to-back national champion, but both titles have come under some level of dispute. And Texas should be familiar with disputed national championships. Its last title came in a split championship (first in UPI, third in AP) in polls conducted after the 1970 season but before a loss in the Cotton Bowl. Today, there are only two undefeated teams in college football. There will be no Auburn or Utah claiming a share. No LSU asking, hey what about us? One team and one team only will be crowned champion the undisputed champion. Everyone who loves the game hoped this matchup would actually occur. And now it’s finally here. This time it’s indisputable. It’s No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Texas in a dream matchup. Longhorns fans, sorry about the rain the other day, but welcome back to the greatest game in sports. That’s a fact that’s never been in dispute. On Tuesday afternoon, legendary sportscaster Curt Gowdy was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. In a videotaped acceptance speech, he described the Rose Bowl as “unsurpassed in color, pageantry and prestige.” He was talking about the game in general, but the description has never been more fitting than in this BCS championship game edition. When it comes to colorful players, it’s hard to imagine surpassing USC’s Reggie Bush and Texas’ Vince Young. They were arguably the two most exciting and indisputably the two best players in the country this season, capable of turning the most simple plays into the most dynamic highlights. It’s an unsurpassed pageant of quarterbacks, both of whom have already created lasting images from this stage. Last year, Young had his Rose Bowl moment high-stepping past helpless Michigan defenders with the ball outstretched in one hand into the end zone. Two years ago, USC’s Matt Leinart made his Rose Bowl image with the football held high in his left hand as he pranced into the end zone after catching a reverse pass. Leinart eventually passed up an opportunity at the NFL’s riches, and it was because of this day. About 15 years from now, Leinart and Young are all but certain to join Gowdy and the great former players in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Their credentials are already indisputable, but their everlasting Rose Bowl image will be created tonight. It’s an unsurpassed matchup of prestigious programs. The schools have nine combined Heisman Trophy winners and 14 soon to be 15 national championships. They have respective 19- and 34-game current winning streaks and a dynasty will either continue, or become official. Both teams average more than 50 points a game and though it’s unlikely the teams will combine for 100 points, it figures to be an offensive shootout. It might even come down to the old football clich? the team that has the ball last will win. If that’s the case, it’s hard to pick against the team with the two Heisman winners on offense. Though Texas is more than capable of winning, the choice here is the Trojans in a close, high-scoring affair. But that’s just one person’s opinion, open for discussion, agreement or dispute. Not so this game. After all the talk and all the anticipation, it figures more than ever to be a classic. [TAG1][email protected] (626) 962-8811, ext. 2239 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!