PyeongChang opens first new venue in Gangneung

The Gangneung Ice Arena has been officially opened ahead of the ISU Short Track World Cup event this weekend, which will serve as a test event for PyeongChang. In addition to short track, the 12,000-capacity venue, which took two and a half years to complete, will also host the figure skating competitions in 2018.

Picture by PyeongChang 2018

Located in Gangneung Olympic Park, the Ice Arena is one of the six newly built venues for PyeongChang. It is the first of the ice venue in Gangneung to be completed, with three other ice venues scheduled for completion in the city by the end of 2016. 

First ice sport Olympic venue for PyeongChang completed
Picture by PyeongChang

“The completion of the ice venues is a meaningful step for PyeongChang,” reflected Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon. “The venues will be the centre of excitement during the Games. After PyeongChang, they will be returned to the public and open doors for potential athletes and create new horizons for Gangneung residents.” 

The venues will be the centre of excitement during the Games. Choi Moon-soon Gangwon Province Governor
- Choi Moon-soon Gangwon Province Governor

The IOC’s Gunilla Lindberg, who is chair of the PyeongChang Coordination Commission added: “I congratulate everyone involved in the construction of this venue for their hard work. I also wish good fortune to those that will operate this venue until the Games and beyond. Most of all, I wish good luck to all the athletes who will grace the ice in this stadium for the coming weekend and during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang.”

I congratulate everyone involved in the construction of this venue for their hard work. Gunilla Lindberg Chair of the PyeongChang Coordination Commission
- Gunilla Lindberg Chair of the PyeongChang Coordination Commission

The weekend’s event is expected to be a sell-out, so the athletes can expect an electric atmosphere as they race their way around the 111.12m track.  The programme includes 10 events - four individual competitions and men’s and women’s relays. A total of 104 male and 80 female athletes from 31 countries will be competing, with Japan, Canada, China, Netherlands, and Russia all especially well represented.

First ice sport Olympic venue for PyeongChang completed
Picture by PyeongChang

Among the athletes set to compete are Canadian siblings Charles and François Hamelin, Shim Suk-hee of the Republic of Korea and Wu Daijing of China. Charles Hamelin is a four-time Olympic medalist with three gold and one silvers, while Shim Suk-hee is the reigning world record holder in the women’s 1,000m.