Everyone basically cheers for everyone at sliding races. No matter the countries involved, when someone crosses the finish line there's a warm welcome from chilled fans.
There's one person at these Pyeongchang Olympics who particularly epitomizes that.
Meet Brendan De Louwer. You probably don't know the tall, redheaded Australian _ but if you've watched any sliding races so far at these games, you've seen him. He's the one in the red snowpants and matching jacket standing a few inches from the wall of Curve 13, clapping for every single sled that whizzes past him.
Many around the track just know him as "the clapping guy."
"I'm having a good time and just trying to make the most of the vibe of the whole sport," De Louwer said. "Getting everyone else excited about it as well."
These are the first Olympics for De Louwer, who was brought to Pyeongchang as one of the 16 international icemakers hired to assist the local staff at the Alpensia Sliding Center.
We found "the clapping guy" at the Pyeongchang Olympic track. Brendan De Louwer of Australia, an icemaker here, says he's making "the most of the vibe of the whole sport." (Photo from @TheKenChilds.) pic.twitter.com/kwqx85FGB8
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 18, 2018
He's made the most of the opportunity.
De Louwer learned the icemaking trade at the Whistler Sliding Center in British Columbia, and wound up getting a contract to work in Pyeongchang from Jan. 3-20 as part of a massive staff brought in to ensure the ice would be ready. But that contract also meant he would have left South Korea long before the opening ceremony.
By then, De Louwer was swept up in Olympic fever.
"I begged and pleaded to stay," De Louwer said. "I offered to volunteer. I offered to pay for my own flight home and find my own accomodation and everything, but they ended up finding a spot for me to stay. And I'm so thankful they did."
So on race nights, in the cold and wind, De Louwer is out there smiling and clapping. Camera shots during a run are almost always exactly the same, and De Louwer knows he's showing up on the monitors.
But the clapping isn't an act. The way he sees it, he's an ambassador for sport.
"I know you can see me," De Louwer said. "It puts happy shivers down my spine every time you get a compliment. All the coaches and athletes, they only have good things to say. And I feel getting in the camera shot really sets the scene that everyone here is embracing the vibe."