Viet Nam News
by Lương Thu Hương
PYEONGCHANG — The first drops of snow have fallen in PyeongChang as South Korea completes preparations for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Including seven sports with the participation of 6,500 athletes, the Olympic Games will take place from February 9-25. The Paralympic Games will be held from March 9-18, including six sports and 1,500 athletes. The slogan for the games is “Passion. Connected.”
The much-anticipated sports events will be held at the Winter Sports Belt, which is a 30-minute drive from the Olympic Plaza.
“It will be very compact and easy for the athletes and spectators to visit multiple sites and experience the games,” said Jihye Lee, head of the international media relations team of the organising committee.
For fast and convenient access to the host city, which is approximately 180km east of Seoul, the expressway has been expanded, connecting both Seoul and Incheon International Airport to PyeongChang. High-speed rail takes 1 hour and 38 minutes from Incheon Airport to PyeongChang Mountain Cluster, and 1 hour 52 minutes from the airport to Gangneung Coastal Cluster. Visitors can also arrive in the host city in just under an hour if they go by Korean Train Express.
Time to shine: The 2018 Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games also includes exciting cultural events which are expected to put PyeongChang on South Korea’s tourism map. — VNS Photo Lương Thu Hương
A variety of high-tech services that the world has never before experienced will be introduced. It will be the first Games to offer 5G telecommunications services including 5G buses and convenient IoT (Internet of Things) services customised to meet individual needs for navigation and safety. Humanoid robots will be utilised for PR activities, information services, torch relay and other services.
The Olympics are not only the world’s premiere sporting event, but also a chance for visitors to experience the local culture. There will be a variety of sideline activities featuring Korean culture, like a modern art exhibition in Culture ICT pavilion and an Olympic-themed lantern exhibition in the Korea traditional pavilion and zone.
“Through such activities, PyeongChang hopes to be put on the tourism map,” said Lee, adding that PyeongChang is expected to welcome 80,000 visitors during the sport events.
All the athletes and visitors to PyeongChang during this winter sports event will be supported by 20,389 volunteers, who have been selected from over 91,000 applications from 145 countries. They will provide visitors with information about the games and medical services as well as assisting staff with operations, media management, technology and language needs.
Snow white: The 2018 Olympic Winter Games Torch will shine for 76 days. The white colour of the torch symbolises the snowy landscape of PyeongChang. — VNS Photo Lương Thu Hương
As of October 26 this year, 103.9 per cent of the revenue target of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games had been achieved, with US$857 million secured from 58 companies.
From November 2016 to April 2017, the organising committee conducted 26 test events and found positive conditions in the winter sports belt where the games will take place.
“The organising committee has done a great job with preparations and we have only heard positive feedback,” said Sarah Lewis, Secretary General of International Ski Federation.
It has been 30 years Seoul hosted the Olympics Summer Games and Paralympics Summer Games in 1988, Lee said.
"So it’s very meaningful for us to be hosting the sports events 30 years later to see how Korea has changed and how the world of sports has changed and to showcase a winter sports destination and hub in the Asian media.”
Tickets are now available at the PyeongChang 2018 ticketing website or through authorised ticket resellers. — VNS