Olympics 2018: Preparing for 15 years

In Pyeongchang already felt the breath of the upcoming Olympics. Photo: Reuters

To plan for holding the Olympics in Pyeongchang began fifteen years ago. This is probably the longest path from idea to hold the Games to implement it in reality.

“SE” recalls major milestones Olympic “soap Opera” of Koreans.


The capital city of each Olympic games chosen at the IOC session seven years prior to the event. So how Pyeongchang has spent twice as much time? It’s very simple – Korean city won the right to organize white Games for only the third time.

And in each of the previous two attempts, Pyeongchang was considered a favorite. In 2003, when he identified the owner of the 2010 winter Olympic games in the first round, the Koreans received 51 votes against 40 Vancouver, but almost all the supporters of Salzburg in the second round took the side of the Canadians, winning by a margin of three votes. Four years after Pyeongchang was also around Sochi in the first round (36:34) and lost in the second (47:51). The organizers did not give up and their perseverance was rewarded with another cycle later in the fight against Munich and Annecy the victory was won behind a clear advantage.

Incidentally, this is the third winter Olympics in Asia after Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano-1998, and the second in the history of the Game in Korea after Seoul in 1988.


If the country promised to prepare for the Games, passed eight years ago, and all the while hoping that sooner or later will hold the Olympics, problems with the infrastructure of the OC should not be. For example, in the summer of 2012, construction began on the high-speed railway from Seoul to Pyeongchang, the draft of which was lying the authorities in the table since 2003. Open in December 2017, it will allow the fans for a couple of hours to get from the capital to Pyeongchang, as well as relatively quickly to overcome the impressive distance between clusters.

Even earlier began to build the Olympic village. More precisely, of the village, because they, like clusters, there will be two. In the mountain, actually located in Pyeongchang, built eight residential 15-storey buildings with 600 apartments. She, by the way, will be used by the athletes during the Paralympics. But the village is in the coastal Kannyn was constructed at the Olympics. It consists of nine buildings ranging in height from 22 to 25 floors. Just them – 922 rooms.

Another significant construction of the Olympic stadium. It will be held four ceremonies – two opening and two closing Games. This 35-thousand very unusual. For example, since the venue was built specially for celebrations and it will not accept any competition, it has an unusual pentagonal shape. This allows viewers to observe what is happening with maximum convenience. In addition, this building, despite its importance and size, is temporary, after the Paralympics, the stadium will be dismantled. Apparently, this led to another feature in the arena is not provided neither the roof nor any heating. Given the fact that weather forecasters promise us one of the coldest in the history of the Olympics, it may be a problem. In November, when there was a concert in seven viewers discovered the symptoms of hypothermia. Therefore, the organizers promise during the games to provide each visitor with a blanket, raincoat and warmer.


Unlike previous Games in Rio, a long preparation allowed the organizers to avoid problems with the preparation of the stadiums. The Games will use the 12 arenas, six of them brand new and six renovated before the Olympics. All of them are already commissioned and received test event.

The heart of the Olympic games will be located in the mountain cluster in the resort called Alpensia. By the way, it started to build in 2003 when the city first applied for the Game. Once there was farmland located, for example, potato fields, and now one of the most modern in Asia ski resorts. All construction work was completed in 2011 – located directly here biathlon and ski centres, built in the mid 90’s and significantly upgraded in recent times, as well as stadium jumping, running since 2008. He has amazing detail in the summer, the landing pad is located… football field.

Nearby and brand-new object – a bobsleigh track. One of the most technically challenging for the organizers of any Games arenas were built for three and a half years – from March 2014 to December 2017. And put into operation the last of all.

The highlight is and is part of the sports Park “Alpensia” ski centre “Yongpyong”. With Korean it is translated as “dragon Valley”, owns this resort, “the unification Church”, a Christian sect headed by the popular Korean preacher moon Dream Man. The centre is open from the end of the 90s, took the competition in the Asian Games and the world Cup. During the Olympics there will be competitions skiers in technical disciplines.

But high-speed types of programs for which the slopes of the “Ophena” are not suitable, can be arranged in the open two years ago, the ski center “Jeongseon” – nestled away in the mountains surrounded by protected forests. The extreme freestylers and snowboarders will also compete separately, in the snow Park “Phoenix” in the city of Bundchen.


The coastal cluster will be located in the port city of Gangneung – local in the Olympic Park there are four objects. The only one that existed here long before the Games – Centre of Curling. Actually it is a multi-purpose arena, where in 1999 the hockey tournament of the Asian games. Later there was conducted the women’s and Junior world Championships already Curling, and before the Olympics, the stadium was renovated.

But the other three arenas were built quite recently, Gangneung-si in recent years was the main Olympic site. Hockey Palace for 10 thousand spectators opened in March 2017 and, incidentally, has the shape of an octagon. Two months earlier, began operations “home Oval”, where skaters has managed to hold the 2017 world Championships for individual distances. Nearby is the ice arena where games will be, perhaps, the most popular among Korean fans competitions in figure skating and short track. It is equipped with a lighting system that can change color.

Another ice hockey arena, where mostly will host matches of the women’s tournament, located in University campus Kanina. And this is also a new stadium – it’s open in February 2017, and after six Games will be available to the students.


What is the sum cost of building this number of sport centers, high-speed Railways and other infrastructure? According to press reports, the Korean government spent on the Olympics a little less than $ 13 billion – more than double after the victory of Pyeongchang in the election. While the budget directly to the organizing Committee was approximately 2.5 billion.

And there are doubts that the Koreans will be able to recapture the invested funds, because long before the Olympics became controversial halo. The main reason was periodically escalating conflict with the regime of the DPRK, but from Pyeongchang to the border some 90 km away. All this could not affect the number of tourists who intend to attend the competition by the eyes. But then there’s the weatherman began to predict hard frosts and strong winds at the time of the Games.

The overall flow of visitors from abroad to the country in 2017 fell by a quarter. As a result, 100 days before the opening ceremony have been sold a little less than a third of the tickets for the Olympics, and less than 10 percent to the Paralympics. At the same time, here’s the paradox, and the Koreans did not show the competitions of special interest and were reluctant to carry cash in a honestly earned won. By the way, the cheapest tickets for the Olympic competitions – not too popular in the country ski race, in terms of cost about $ 17. But for a comfortable place in the figure skating will have to pay $ 500, and even more. Those who are not used to save, offer to pay about $ 1,300 for the right to attend ceremonies of opening and closing.

However, in recent weeks, the tickets began to disperse better – recently, the organizers reported approaching the 70 percent mark. Although it is understood that not all of the competition Pyeongchang will be sold out.

Anton BABOSHIN, sport express

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