The two PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Villages in PyeongChang and Gangneung officially opened their doors today, and are now welcoming the world’s best winter athletes to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Over 90 National Olympic Committees and approximately 2,900 athletes are expected to participate in the Games and experience the unique multi-cultural atmosphere of an Olympic Village.

Speaking at the opening of the PyeongChang Olympic Village, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said: “We can already say that this is one of the best, if not the best, Olympic Village we have ever seen for the Olympic Winter Games.”

He continued: “This Village will allow the athletes not only to prepare for competition, but it will also allow the athletes to enjoy the spirit of the Olympic Games and to show what the Olympic Games are about. They are about getting to know each other, they are about making friends, they are about understanding each other, they are about competing with each other, but at the same time sharing your meal and celebrating together, and this will all happen here in this place, in this Olympic Village.”

Bach went on to address the athletes directly about the significance of their stay in the Olympic Village when he commented: “Even decades after the Olympic Games, you will think back to life in this Olympic Village. Whenever you meet your competitors at the time, other Olympians, the experience in the Olympic Village will be at the centre, not only of your memories, but also of your conversation.”

During their stay, the athletes will be able to take advantage of a number of activities and services in both Villages. These will include a fitness centre, a 24/7 dining area serving a wide selection of local and international cuisine, a recreation centre, a state-of-the-art medical centre, and a multi-faith centre. There will also be a selection of “high street” services, including a convenience store, dry cleaners, a hair salon, a flower shop, a post office, a café, a parcel service, an internet lounge, a call centre, a photo service and a bank. All of which will combine to create a home away from home for those competing in the PyeongChang Games and provide numerous opportunities to meet their fellow Olympians.

The Villages are also located to provide quick and easy access for all athletes to their venues. This will allow them to focus on their preparations and competitions during their stay without having to worry about long journeys.

Having checked into his room in the PyeongChang Olympic Village yesterday, the IOC President today visited the Gangneung Olympic Village, where the majority of athletes competing in the ice events will be staying. On his tour, President Bach saw the Village Plaza, dining hall, resident centre, recreational centre and fitness centre. He also met a number of the volunteers who will be helping the athletes navigate their Games experience and helping them to prepare for their Olympic competitions.

Bach also visited the coastal venues today, where he saw the Curling Centre, Hockey 1, Gangneung Ice Arena and Gangneung Oval. He was impressed by the readiness of the fields of play and was confident that the athletes would have a first-class experience at the Games. All of the venues visited by President Bach are inside the Gangneung Olympic Park, which will be a hive of activity at Games time with not just the sports venues, but also a live site and numerous other activations for visitors to enjoy as part of their Games experience.