Rural South Korean County Prepares For Role As 2018 Winter Olympics Host

An undated aerial print of a Olympic venues in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Courtesy of PyeongChang Organizing Committee


hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of PyeongChang Organizing Committee

An undated aerial print of a Olympic venues in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Courtesy of PyeongChang Organizing Committee

Jeon Chung-won tends sheep on a hilly plantation where he was innate in PyeongChang, a farming county a few hours’ expostulate easterly of South Korea’s collateral Seoul.

“It’s a simple, pacific place where a towering atmosphere hugs you,” says Jeon, 32. “I unequivocally adore this place.”

Only a handful of domestic tourists typically come to PyeongChang, to transport immature hills dotted with Buddhist temples or revisit a little ski hire nearby. But that is about to change.

Next year, this sprawling county of only 43,000 people will horde a 2018 Winter Olympics, East Asia’s initial Winter Olympics to be hold outward of Japan. The opening rite is set for Feb 9.

Jeon Chung-won, 32, on his family’s sheep plantation in PyeongChang, South Korea. Jeon charges tourists a little price to go hiking on his farm, and is awaiting thousands of visitors this winter for a Olympic Games.

Lauren Frayer/NPR


hide caption

toggle caption

Lauren Frayer/NPR

Jeon Chung-won, 32, on his family’s sheep plantation in PyeongChang, South Korea. Jeon charges tourists a little price to go hiking on his farm, and is awaiting thousands of visitors this winter for a Olympic Games.

Lauren Frayer/NPR

Even South Koreans competence onslaught to find PyeongChang on a map. It’s 80 miles easterly of Seoul and 40 miles south of a de-militarized section that separates North Korea and South Korea.

The county doesn’t wish to be confused with North Korea’s collateral city Pyongyang — so many so that PyeongChang altered a spelling of a name for a Olympic bid, capitalizing a ‘C’ in a middle. Nevertheless, a nominee to a new discussion there mistakenly flew to North Korea instead. Luckily, he was means to transport onward.

PyeongChang, not surprisingly, has been a favorite of chosen athletes — marathoners and skiers who sight in a hills. The city sits 2,300 feet above sea level, with purify towering atmosphere and lots of anniversary snow.

“When we came here for a initial time, this place was unequivocally undeveloped,” says Bae Ji-young, 28, who changed here 15 years ago to sight with South Korea’s inhabitant cross-country ski team. “Normally we have a lot of complicated snow. So we climbed each mountain.”

Bae has watched hundreds of buildings — hotels, restaurants and sports venues — fire adult over a march of 3 Olympic bids by PyeongChang. The third was successful.

“We hear a lot of stories about a Olympic Games, where they’re still building things as athletes travel in,” says Nancy Park, a mouthpiece for a PyeongChang Organizing Committee. “We don’t have that situation.”

She says 97 percent of a area’s Olympic venues are already complete. Half of them were built for prior Olympic bids. Organizers are installing 5G for Internet access, and enlivening internal cab drivers to learn English.

An undated record print of a ski jumping core in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Courtesy of PyeongChang Organizing Committee


hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of PyeongChang Organizing Committee

An undated record print of a ski jumping core in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Courtesy of PyeongChang Organizing Committee

The challenge, however, is a surrounding infrastructure — or miss thereof.
Single-lane towering roads are being widened. There’s no internal airport. A high-speed rail couple is being built from a collateral Seoul. Eight months out, all of PyeongChang is like an barrier march of orange cones.

And there’s another probable hazard: North Korea, only 40 miles away.

North Korean athletes have been postulated singular accede to expostulate opposite a DMZ to compete.

“As of yet, they don’t have any competent athletes, though if they do attend, they’ll be staying in a Olympic village,” Park says. “Obviously, there’s a lot of courtesy on these North Korean athletes, though they are a pitch of a assent component of a Olympics.”

When a North Korean promotion balloon recently blew opposite a border, South Korean soldiers stationed nearby PyeongChang dismissed 90 appurtenance gun rounds during it.

Residents contend they’re some-more disturbed about interesting a estimated 80,000 Olympic tourists a day, come February. In further to newly built hotels, tourists will have a choice of engagement accommodation in some of a dozens of Buddhist temples that dot a forested PyeongChang hills. Some of a temples date behind to a 7th century and offer normal Korean church stays, in that visitors urge with Buddhist monks, nap overnight and assistance ready simple, locally grown meals.

A debate beam during one of a many famous temples, Woljeongsa, admits he’s indeed a Catholic though says he’s unapproachable to uncover off Korea’s Buddhist past. Choi Du-yeol says he’s been brushing adult on Korean story in allege of receiving tourists for a Olympic Games.

“We’re all operative together to uncover off a little dilemma of Korea to a world,” says Choi.

More sports ...

Posted in
Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
short link time2sports.com/?p=7586.