PyeongChang 2018 looking to ‘New Horizons’

Following the conclusion of the IOC Debriefing of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the focus has now turned to PyeongChang, in the Republic of Korea, which will host the next edition of the Olympic Winter Games in 2018.

© IOC / Christian Klaue President Bach at the Super Sprint World Championship Women’s finals in Hamburg.

The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG) was a key participant in the debriefing, as it looks to learn from Sochi’s experiences as an Olympic host city.

Like Sochi, PyeongChang – which was announced as host city of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in July 2011 – is aiming to use the Games as a catalyst to create long-term legacies that will benefit future generations.

With a budding youth population and a strong strategic position in Asia, PyeongChang hopes the 2018 Games will enable a legacy of new growth and new potential.

Central to this is POCOG’s ‘New Horizons’ vision, which aims to expand winter sports in Asia and transform the local Gangwon province into a new winter sports and tourism destination.

"Our vision is very clear: new horizons, developing industries, building a hub of winter sports in Gangwon province,” explains Kim Jin-Sun, President and CEO of POCOG. “Our Games will also be a Games of culture, environment and peace."

Several new winter sports facilities are being built for the Games – including those that will stage figure skating, ice hockey, speed skating, luge, bobsleigh and skeleton events – while existing venues will also be used, such as the Gangneung Indoor Ice Rink (curling), Bokwang Phoenix Park (freestyle skiing and snowboard) and the Yongpyong Ski Resort, home to the slalom and giant slalom events, which is the largest ski and snowboard resort in Korea.

The Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium, meanwhile, is also already operational, having been built as a legacy of PyeongChang’s previous bids for the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

POCOG hopes that each of the new sports facilities built for the 2018 Winter Games will provide similar legacies.

"Post-Games use is very important for POCOG,” says Kim. “We are developing various legacy plans. Most of the snow venues are privately owned and will be used as resorts and for sports. The indoor venues will be converted into gyms, school gyms, convention centres and leisure centres for the public."

With less than four years to go until the start of the 2018 Winter Games, much of the work to bring PyeongChang’s vision to reality has already begun, with the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games praising POCOG’s efforts following its recent visit to the host city.

“The 2018 Games are on the right track but it is clear that much work remains,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg. “We are confident that POCOG and Korea will deliver great Games for the athletes in 2018.”