The PyeongChang volunteer programme drew an impressive response, with more than 91,000 people from across the host country applying to play their part at the next Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Some 41,350 of them earned selection for the interview process, which took place over the first two months of this year and was based on the following criteria: volunteer experience, commitment to the Games and basic knowledge of PyeongChang. That process is now complete, with the organisers having chosen 16,200 local volunteers for next year’s Games. The lucky applicants were notified on Thursday 16 March and will begin their training at the end of this month.
The job categories attracting the most applications were general operations, broadcasting, interpretation and language services, spectator support and weather services. Should there be any shortfalls in certain areas, a further recruitment drive will be held in April, with successful candidates beginning their training in July.
The selected volunteers will now take part in a series of training sessions held across the Republic of Korea. These will include an introduction to the Games and teamwork building (running from March to August 2017), leadership training (Sep-Dec 2017), role-specific training (Sep-Mar 2018) and venue training (Jan-Feb 2018). The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) will supply all necessary educational materials and training staff.
Expressing his gratitude to the volunteers for their enthusiasm, POCOG President Lee Heebeom said: “It is wonderful to see so many people eager and excited to be part of the PyeongChang Winter Games. Our volunteers will play a very important role in making the Games a wonderful experience for all the athletes, officials and spectators. We cannot do it without them, and I would like to personally thank them for their support and dedication in the year ahead and hope they make many life-long friendships and memories at the Games.”
In total, the final volunteer pool will number 22,400, with five percent of them made up of foreign applicants, who will find out later this month if they have been selected. Fourteen percent of the total number of online applications came from overseas. Following its successful staging of Sochi 2014, Russia led the way with 2,890 applications, followed by China with 1,345 and the USA with 1,158.
Volunteers recruited from abroad will begin their online training in May. Given that they will only arrive in PyeongChang shortly before the Games, they will go through their basic, role-specific and venue training no later than one week before operations begin.
Also volunteering their services in what promises to be an unmissable experience will be 5,135 group applicants, including students from the USA’s George Washington University and others recruited through agreements that are already in place.