The 2018 Winter Olympics open tomorrow morning, but earlier Thursday one elementary school decided to give its students a hands on experience of what Olympians will be experiencing.

Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream" signaled the initial march for hundreds of Maple River West students.

One pupil from each class had the honor of carrying the iconic torch, leading the rest of the group around the gym just like a true Olympian.

Grades K-5 waved personal flags as boys and girls showcased pride for their respective country.

This is the first time the elementary has had a "Winter Olympic" theme and organizers were amazed at the response.

3rd grade teacher Samantha Passer said "They were very excited. Yes, that was kind of a treat just to 'oh we get to put our colors in our flags and decorate them' and so they really liked it. To see all the flags together, it was really cool."

2nd grade teacher Renee Ehlers said "They didn't really know what to expect so it was like a big surprise."

This morning's event is part of the school's "PBIS" program, an initiative that encourages and supports positive behavior.

Like the athletes they modeled after, MRW students can earn medals themselves for representing the five characteristics these games display.

The special ceremony also allowed the younger generation to see the numerous sports that will be presented for the next two weeks.

5th grader Emma Garman said "It was really fun and it really inspired me. Why so? Because we got to learn about all they do in the Olympics."

One of those sports, curling, highlighted the festivities, for Maple River's own John Landsteiner will represent his town and country for the second time.

Although a number of different countries were portrayed, at the end of it all, the red, white and blue raced through these students' veins, exhibiting who they will be rooting for during the 2018 Olympic Games.

Landsteiner and Team USA will begin their pursuit of a gold medal beginning Tuesday night.

For a complete list of events and TV coverage for this year's games, you can visit

- KEYC 12