Pyeongchang (Not Pyongyang): The Place Hosting The Winter Olympics

Soohorang, left, a mascot of a Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and Bandabi, mascot of a Paralympics, acquire visitors to a Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang, one of many comforts that’s been reworked as a county hosts a games.

Bill Chappell/NPR


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Soohorang, left, a mascot of a Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and Bandabi, mascot of a Paralympics, acquire visitors to a Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang, one of many comforts that’s been reworked as a county hosts a games.

Bill Chappell/NPR

Pyeongchang takes core theatre of a sporting universe on Friday, hosting chosen athletes for a Winter Olympics and anticipating to lift a form as a winter review destination. But if you’d never listened of Pyeongchang before now, you’re not alone.

Pyeongchang is a county, not a city, and and adult to now it’s been famous essentially as a farming towering retreat, with a race of customarily over 40,000 people, located about 40 miles from a demilitarized section (DMZ) and North Korea. It has Buddhist temples and a repute for a sustaining climate. But it wants a repute as a sports mecca. And so now, 30 years after Seoul hosted a Summer Olympics, Pyeongchang is seizing a spotlight.

Here’s a outline of some-more things to know about this place that finds itself welcoming tens of thousands of athletes, media and spectators.

‘Happy 700’ in Pyeongchang

Hosting a Winter Olympics has been a longtime office for officials in Pyeongchang and a home operation of Gangwon: It took 3 tries for a county to finally win a right to horde a Games.

Pyeongchang’s ski jumping core (left), cross-country ski trickery (center) and biathlon core (right) are among a venues for a 2018 Winter Olympics.

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Pyeongchang’s ski jumping core (left), cross-country ski trickery (center) and biathlon core (right) are among a venues for a 2018 Winter Olympics.

Yeliim Lee/AFP/Getty Images

Pyeongchang sits opposite a Korean Peninsula from Seoul, nestled in a prolonged towering operation that runs together to South Korea’s easterly coast. Many of a plateau have dull rather than pointy crests; their sides are dotted with hunger trees.

Pyeongchang promotes itself as carrying an ideal meridian – in partial since a phalanx of plateau assistance retard atmosphere wickedness from a northwest, and in partial since of a “Happy 700” – a 700-meter altitude (about 2,300 feet) that Pyeongchang’s boosters contend is optimal for a health of people and animals.

Pyeongchang and Gangneung

Source: Natural Earth, GADM

Credit: Brittany Mayes/NPR

The meridian here stirred a meteorologist during Accuweather to broadcast that people in Pyeongchang need customarily 5 or 6 hours of nap to feel rested, “because a vigour in this area increases melatonin in a person’s brain” – an determination that could be complete balderdash, yet is also good to hear if one is gripping those hours.

As a Olympics go on, design to hear about Pyeongchang’s story – a area is home to a Woljeongsa Buddhist church that was founded scarcely 1,400 years ago. It’s one of some-more than 100 temples in a region; many concede visitors to haven space to spend a night.

Gangneung

Pyeongchang and a province, Gangwon, are temperament many of a costs of building comforts for a games. And in a eastern corner of a province, along what South Korea calls a East Sea (a.k.a. a Sea of Japan), lies a Olympics “sub-host” Gangneung, a coastal city with a race of some-more than 200,000.

All of a flat-ice events, from curling and speed-skating to figure skating and hockey, are being hold in this city, about 40 mins from Pyeongchang by car.

Geographically, Gangneung is really graphic from Pyeongchang. For one thing, it’s a vast city with beaches. And crucially for many visitors, a meridian is many milder. In a week we’ve been here, Gangneung has been scarcely 15 degrees warmer, in Fahrenheit, than Pyeongchang.

The northeastern city of Gangneung is hosting a indoor ice events of a 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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The northeastern city of Gangneung is hosting a indoor ice events of a 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

For competitors and media, a comparatively tiny scale of Pyeongchang has led to singular circumstances: There are dual Athletes’ Villages during these games, and a Media Village, customarily positioned nearby a categorical press core where news conferences and offices are based, is a 35-minute train float from that hub.

The city’s wide, prosaic areas also make it an ideal mark for a Olympic Park and other installations that showcase both a hosts’ enlightenment and their sponsors’ support.

For a pointer of a thespian jump this city and a area are holding divided from their past, cruise this: on possibly side of a vast new Olympic park are dual comparison and some-more common sporting facilities. To a west sits a Gangneung Tennis Association, with a handful of weathered courts and rows of petrify bleachers; to a easterly lies a hall and drift for gateball, a foe that bears some similarities to croquet. Both of those sports, we’ll note, are best played in warmer weather.

Figures in normal dress line a bank opposite a travel from a Olympic Park in Gangneung, a “sub-host” city for a Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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Figures in normal dress line a bank opposite a travel from a Olympic Park in Gangneung, a “sub-host” city for a Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Bill Chappell/NPR

Preparations and a people

There was tiny torment over either Pyeongchang’s venues would be ready: organizers announced that they had finished building a Olympic comforts final November, imprinting 100 days from a start of a games.

The construction enclosed a Olympic Plaza and Olympic Stadium (the venue for a opening and shutting ceremonies). Six foe venues were built; another 6 were renovated for a Olympics. A vast cube of that work was finished in a progressing bids, as a area attempted to infer it was prepared to horde a outrageous general event.

The work to build comforts and boost infrastructure in Pyeongchang and Gangneung enclosed fixation customized empty grates along walkways.

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The work to build comforts and boost infrastructure in Pyeongchang and Gangneung enclosed fixation customized empty grates along walkways.

Bill Chappell/NPR

Another vast investment lay in anticipating a approach for people to strech Pyeongchang, a comparatively different area that lacks a vast airport. For many visitors, a categorical indicate of entrance is a new KTX high-speed rail line that runs from Incheon Airport and Seoul east to a dual Olympic horde areas. It was finished customarily months ago and has been using on schedule.

To accommodate those guests, organizers are installing 5G for Internet access, and they’ve speedy cab drivers to learn a bit of English – we can demonstrate that this seems to have worked.

Pyeongchang organizers contend they’ve deployed 22,400 volunteers to assistance these games run smoothly, as delegations from 95 countries intersect on this region. So far, we’ve found it to be really hospitable, in vast and tiny ways.

The future

As we’ve come to design during Olympic Games, there are genuine concerns about a costs of putting these games on — though, during an guess of scarcely $13 billion, a Pyeongchang Games would be a relations discount in new Olympics history. There are also worries over how a comforts will transport after a universe turns a courtesy elsewhere.

A pitch of those concerns is a Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, that cost tens of millions of dollars to build – reports have ranged from $60 million to $100 million. With a ability of 35,000, a track could residence a vast cube of Pyeongchang’s population. After this winter, a track will be dramatically renovated (and partially ripped down) after customarily 4 uses: a opening and shutting ceremonies of a Olympics and Paralympics.

In further to a centerpiece stadium, organizers and internal officials will establish how to use a other 12 venues from these Olympics, from a shifting core to an ice locus and a hockey core – of that they now have two.

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