American presidents don’t exactly have an extensive history at the Olympics. Only Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have attended the Games in person.
On the other hand, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is always at the Olympics… because he has to be. But that hasn’t stopped him from having fun in PyeongChang. Most may not have noticed his presence after the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony, where he gave a speech right before South Korean President Moon Jae-in officially opened the 2018 Winter Olympics.
It may not surprise you to find out that he has spent some of his time soaking in different events around PyeongChang.
He presented medals at some ceremonies, too, and it was an extra-special moment when the German Bach hung gold around two compatriots: pairs figure skaters Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot.
Did you also know Bach was part of the torch relay leading up to the Opening Ceremony?
Once the Games started, Bach made sure he was on hand to witness Shaun White’s insane halfpipe runs …
… picking up some new vocabulary along the way:
The president also spent extensive time with some of the most mysterious participants in these Olympics: the North Korean athletes. Bach met with players on the unified Korean women’s hockey team during one of their practices, and he also attended a game alongside Moon and multiple North Korean dignitaries.
And obviously, he was just as hypnotized by the North Korean cheering section as everyone else was.
He sat in the stands with North Korean figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, too.
Bach will continue his diplomatic efforts after the Olympics, as it was announced he would visit North Korea-or maybe he just really enjoyed hanging out with the athletes.
The president also had fun celebrating Chinese New Year, as Chinese Olympic athletes hosted him to usher in the Year of the Dog.
But this has to take the cake as the most fun moment of Bach’s time in PyeongChang. Here he is shadow-boxing Team Australia’s mascot, BK the boxing kangaroo:
Combat sports are Bach’s forte-he was a gold medalist in fencing (men’s team foil) for West Germany at the 1976 Games. After trying his hand at one other Olympic sport, will Bach sample any more while he’s in South Korea? Perhaps a “sick” run on the halfpipe?