IOC President Bach previews PyeongChang Olympic Village a day before the official opening
With over 90 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) expected to send delegations to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Olympic Villages in both the mountain and coastal clusters are ready to officially welcome the 2,900 or-so athletes from tomorrow, 1 February 2018.
On Wednesday, IOC President Thomas Bach visited the Village in the mountain cluster and moved into his room on the 15th floor of building 101. "The Olympic Village is THE place for the athletes and any Olympian. This is where the Olympic spirit is coming alive", the IOC President said.
After having brought his suitcase into his room, he was full of praise for the apartments in which the athletes and officials will stay: "This is a great Olympic Village. Now you get the feeling that the Games are starting. The Village and the rooms are pretty spacious and comfortable. The athletes will feel very well. With the opening of the Village the Games are really starting. I hope I can spend a few nights here."
Beforehand, he had attended the Chefs de Mission meeting: "Welcome to the Olympic Winter Games. It is good to see that we have a record number of NOCs here," he told the team leaders, who have moved in already to prepare for the arrival of their athletes. "I wish you and all your athletes a great experience here at the Games. Looking outside to the winter world and the great facilities, I am sure we will have great Olympic Winter Games. I cannot wait for moment when the flame is lit."
The PyeongChang Olympic Village in the mountain cluster is made up of eight apartment buildings with 600 units. The Gangneung Olympic Village on the coast is composed of 922 units situated in nine buildings.
Both Villages are close to the competition venues and have been designed for the athletes' convenience.
Divided into three areas, there is firstly the plaza, where athletes and officials can find many services, including a convenience store, dry cleaners, hair salon, flower shop, post office, café, parcel service, internet lounge, call centre, photo service and a bank.
The plaza will be the place where arriving delegations will take part in a special 45-minute Welcome Ceremony, including a presentation of their flag and the Olympic anthem. It will also include a venue devoted to cultural events, from K-pop concerts to traditional Korean music performances, and especially the Korean New Year celebrations, which will take place one week after the Opening Ceremony, on 16 February.
Other services will then be available in the residential area, such as the NOC Service Centre, fitness centre, NOC meeting rooms, polyclinic, multi-faith centre, recreation centre and doping control centre.
A dining room will be open 24/7 during the Games, meeting all athletes' requirements and serving western, Asian and Korean food, with 450 food choices on the menu, including vegetarian and religious meals.
Finally, the Villages include an operational area, with a welcome centre, a check-in centre and a logistics compound.
The Olympic Villages were built to leave a lasting legacy to the local community, and all the apartments have already been sold to individuals, who will take possession of them after the Paralympic Games.