- 07 Feb 2018
- Olympic News
The PyeongChang Organising Committee (POCOG), led by its President, Lee Hee-beom, is ready to go with just two days remaining until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang. Delivering its final presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Session, the POCOG delegation reported on the progress that PyeongChang has made and what athletes and fans can expect from the first Olympic Winter Games to be held in the Republic of Korea.
The PyeongChang Olympic Torch Relay has already been travelling around the country for 99 days, and President Lee noted that the flame’s arrival had corresponded to a turning point in terms of ticket sales and further promotion of the Games. That upswing has resulted in over 70 per cent of Koreans believing that the Games will be successful, and over 78 per cent of POCOG’s ticket sales target being achieved so far.
In PyeongChang, all the competition and non-competition venues are ready for the Games. This includes the PyeongChang Olympic Plaza, which will be home to the evening medal presentations, and is expected to be the place to be before and after competitions. It will feature a live site, music and entertainment acts, a superstore, the PyeongChang Culture and ICT pavilion, as well as partner showcasing. The Plaza will be the perfect place to check out either before or after competitions. Fans will also be able to fully experience the Games at the Gangneung Olympic Park, where in addition to four competition venues, there will be a live site, superstore and showcasing opportunities.
POCOG expects 92 National Olympic Committees to participate in the Games, which corresponds to 6,500 athletes and officials. They will be looked after in part by POCOG’s “Passion Crew”, the 14,647 volunteers who are helping these Games to run smoothly.
Lee went on to report that POCOG expects to have a balanced budget of USD 2.4 billion, and these Games to leave a significant legacy to the population. That legacy will include a new high-speed rail line and two new expressways that are shortening travel times and opening up the region for its citizens and for tourism. There have also been six million Korean young people who have participated in POCOG-led educational activities and 10,2713 teachers who have been trained by POCOG in the Olympic values. There are also significant legacies with the Games venues, but Lee pointed out that three sites are still waiting to have their legacies confirmed by the Government entities, which are in charge of this project.
In her intervention, IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg commended POCOG and its delivery partners for their work. She underlined the need for a continued focus, but was very much looking forward to the Games getting underway.
The Session then subsequently heard reports from the Coordination Commission Chairs of the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games, John Coates and Juan Antonio Samaranch respectively, who both spoke positively about the progress made on their respective Games since last September. Both pointed out the great collaboration between POCOG and the upcoming Games Organisers in ensuring that a solid transfer of knowledge process was in place.
The Games reports were wrapped up by a presentation from Paris 2024, led by its newly appointed President, Tony Estanguet, who highlighted his team’s three immediate priorities: finalising the vision, building a team and legacy. Pierre-Olivier Beckers, the IOC’s Coordination Commission Chair, pointed out the quick start made by Paris 2024 and the strong collaboration that already exists between the IOC, Paris 2024, the local authorities and the French sports movement. He also underlined the continued partnership between the Paris and LA teams, with LA 2028 having attended the Orientation Seminar, and another meeting planned for later in 2018.
In separate news, it was also announced today that the IOC Executive Board had confirmed the dates of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will now take place from 26 July to 11 August, and the Paralympic Games from 28 August to 8 September. This means that the competitions will take place a week earlier than originally proposed.
This change, which will become official after approval by the International Federations, came in response to the willingness of the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Paris 2024 to facilitate the organisation of the competitions and offer the best possible exposure to the Paralympic Games, whose first half will now take place during the school holiday period. During the visit of the Evaluation Commission in May 2017, the IOC and the IPC had expressed reservations about the originally proposed calendar. In close collaboration with its stakeholders and government agencies, Paris 2024 conducted a comprehensive study on the impact of a change in dates, addressing all operational aspects (transport, security, spectator experience, logistics, etc.).