Chief among the PyeongChang post-Games objectives is the ongoing drive to encourage more youngsters, particularly girls, to take up winter sports and to instil Olympic values in them, a goal it is pursuing through the Olympic Education Programme.A joint initiative by the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Education, the programme was launched in 2016 and has engaged with 1.3 million students so far. As well as offering a sports career development programme for middle school students, it aims to change attitudes towards sport and to educate the next generation of sports administrators in countries where sport does not always receive the support it merits.
Other such initiatives include Gangwon Province’s Dream Programme, which has so far enabled 1,919 youngsters from 83 countries that do not have snow to experience winter sports and Korean culture, thereby growing the Olympic Movement. Meanwhile, the Gangneung City-based “One Ice Sport” programme aims to identify young, elite-level athletes, and the Korea Winter Sports Fostering Project provides daily training opportunities for budding athletes.
Creating an Asian winter sports hubThe use of the competition venues after the Games is another vital aspect of legacy. The aim in this case is for PyeongChang to establish itself as a winter sports destination. Eight of the venues are to be used as public winter sports facilities after the Games have ended. The final use of three venues is currently being discussed by the local authorities.
“We aim to develop winter sports and related industries in Asia to leave a lasting legacy in the host region by transforming PyeongChang and Gangwon Province into an Asian winter sports hub and a year-round tourist destination,” said a POCOG spokesperson.
The 11,000-seater Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre, which also played host to K-League football club Gangwon FC in the summer months, is a fine example of the PyeongChang legacy plan.
The ski jumping centre can be used throughout the seasons,” said the Centre’s Sports Manager, Kim Heung-soo, a two-time Olympic ski jumper. “The landing area also features an international-size football field and is used for soccer matches in the summer. The venue also attracts tourists throughout the year.”
Cultural exchangesIn terms of human development, PyeongChang also has an eye on the future, by providing language and crisis management training for over 22,000 volunteers so that they can staff future events, with international volunteers also receiving training on Korean culture. Meanwhile, the Paralympic Games Awareness Programme has already impacted 580,000 people.
As for innovation, the 5G mobile network developed and tested at the Games will be marketed from 2019, while a mobile translation app has been specifically enhanced with PyeongChang in mind.
Sustainable developmentUrban development has not been overlooked either. PyeongChang provides an unmissable opportunity to enhance infrastructures in the Gangwon region, which is less developed than other parts of the country. All accommodation at the Olympic and media villages has already been sold for residential use after the Games, while improvements to the local transport system include a new high-speed rail link that connects the Alpensia mountain region and the Gangneung coast to Seoul in under two hours. A total of 207 kilometres of new roads and highways have also been built.
Environmental benefits will emerge from PyeongChang, thanks in part to improved access and management of water resources, including the expansion of an existing treatment plant and the awarding of green building certification to all venues. The 150 electric cars and 15 hydrogen-powered vehicles commissioned for the Games will continue to be used after it is over, as will the 24 additional recharging sites put in place. The continuing transition to low-carbon technologies has seen the creation of a 117-turbine wind farm providing energy at seven venues, and 104 per cent of the estimated electricity needed during the Games.
Eyes of the world on KoreaThe tourism industry is also set to benefit, with the creation of a new app that will be updated by the regional government after the Games. Improvements have been made to 169 hotels, motels and guest houses, with 1,400 multi-language information panels installed across the Olympic sites.
The Republic of Korea as a whole will enjoy an enhanced global profile as a result of the Games, thanks partly to various campaigns promoting Korean food around the world. The local area will also benefit through the creation of special zones promoting job creation and economic growth in Gangneung, PyeongChang and Jeongseon.
Finally, the XXIII Olympic Winter Games are also giving peace a chance, with the participation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at PyeongChang providing a welcome opportunity for dialogue between it and the host nation. “Our post-Games legacy plan is an important element of the Games for us, and it will live on in many ways,” said a POCOG spokesperson.