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France aims for 20 medals as Winter Olympics begin

France is aiming to bring home 20 medals from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as the snow-covered Games begin today.

A delegation of 102 athletes representing France have travelled to the country to compete, with the group reported to be aiming to win 20 medals in 17 days; including the hope of six for twice-Olympic biathlete champion Martin Fourcade alone, a number that - if achieved - would make him the most successful French athlete in Olympic history.

Other sporting favourites tipped for glory include Tessa Worley, double world champion in the giant slalom; and the artistic figure skating duo Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (pictured below), who are expected to achieve big results in their fields, having seen huge success at Sochi in 2014 and in recent world championships in the run-up to Pyeongchang.

In 2014, France picked up 15 medals - including four Gold - which was the best Winter Olympics result for the country in history.
The opening ceremony for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games is taking place today, and is expected to feature 2,900 athletes from 92 nations.

Fourcade will carry the tricolore flag for the French delegation, ahead of around 100 athletes walking behind - making up a slightly smaller group than the 114 who took part in the Sochi ceremony in 2014.

The Games have come in for significant publicity after being dubbed “the coldest Winter Games ever”, with Pyeongchang reported to regularly experience temperatures as low as -25°C.

The event has also been hailed as a sign that relations between North Korea and South Korea could be thawing after decades of hostility, after the sister of the totalitarian leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, has landed on South Korean soil as a North Korean representative, becoming the first ruling family member to visit the South since the Korean War of 1950-53.

She is also scheduled to meet South Korean president Moon Jae-in tomorrow (Saturday February 10).

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