The 2018 Winter Games’ host
city and its 43,000 inhabitants are gearing up to revamp and newly build
the venues to be Korea’s first host of the Winter Olympics. In 1988,
Seoul successfully played host to the Summer Games.
The Winter Games will be held from Feb. 9 to 25, 2018. An organization committee, led by Gangwon Province and the city of PyeongChang, is expected to be launched soon to prepare for the 16-day winter sports festival.
The master plan for the Winter Games centers around the Alpensia Cluster in PyeongChang, the Coastal Cluster in the coastal city of Gangneung and two independent stadiums at the Bogwang and Jungbong ski resorts.
Six of the 13 Olympic venues will be newly built, with the others
being renovated or updated as required costing $50 million. The six new
venues include four for ice events to be built at the Coastal Cluster,
and one alpine resort and a bobsleigh track at the Alpensia Cluster.
In a compact setting, those taking part in the snow events will be able to reach the competition areas within 30 minutes by car from the athletes village while for those in the ice events it will only take 10 minutes.
PyeongChang is not as well-known as cities such as Seoul or Busan but through the Winter Olympics it will strive to become a recognized city in Asia.
The government has pledged its full support to make the Games a success. Even the usually bickering political parties have agreed on a bill to support the Winter Olympics. One plan with full support is a bullet train link, from Incheon International Airport to the Alpensia Cluster via Seoul. The high-speed train, once launched, will enable participants and visitors to reach the city in about an hour. In addition, the existing highways will be expanded before the start of the Games.
(Photo: Yonhap News)
For the next few years, the city is expected to host international winter sports events in preparation for 2018.
Having succeeded in its bid, PyeongChang will host the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s general assembly at the Alpensia Resort from July 14 to 16, the Korea Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation announced Tuesday.
The bobsleigh track will need to be tested before the Winter Games, with events usually held a year before the Olympics. The FIS Ski Jumping Continental Cup was held in January at Alpensia and officials said a ski jumping world cup can be held in PyeongChang if it wins the right to host the 2018 Winter Games.
These events are likely to raise PyeongChang’s profile as a winter sports city.
According to a study done by the PyeongChang bid committee, the Winter Games are likely to create an overall economic value of 65 trillion won for the country.
But the relative officials are aware that only a handful of countries have generated profit through the Winter Games.
The organizing committee should learn from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics as well as analyze the Games held in Lillehammer and Lake Placid.
Due to budget restrictions, the Vancouver Olympics organizing committee received support from the IOC. But it nevertheless recorded a deficit of around $10 billion.
Meanwhile, the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics held in Norway generated a record-breaking profit. The 1980 Lake Placid Olympics held in the United States resulted in more than 2 million annual visitors to this city in New York state.
PyeongChang’s beginnings were humble. The first ski resort was Daegwallyeong in 1953. The construction of the expansive Yongpyong resort in 1975 in PyeongChang, began to highlight the region as offering the country’s best skiing. The first International Ski Federation (FIS) certified course was built in Yongpyong where international events were held to give Korean skiers an opportunity to develop.
The upgraded Yongpyong resort is still one of the best places to ski or snowboard and many of its residents earn a living related to winter sports.
PyeongChang was the winner on July 6 in Durban, South Africa. But if it is a real winner will be seen after the Games.
By Yoon Chul
From The Korea Times
*This article has been jointly produced by the Korean Culture and Information Service and The Korea Times