2018 Winter Olympics: All Eyes on South Korea after Sochi’s Closing Ceremony; 5 Things to Know about PyeongChang
By Gopi Chandra Kharel | February 24, 2014 6:57 PM EST
As the actions in Sochi came to a close, all eyes have now turned to the South Korean town of PyeongChang, the host of the next Winter Games in 2018.
Dragon Valley ski resort will be at the center of PyeongChang Winter Games (Wiki Commons)
The Olympic Flag that was handed over from Sochi to PyeongChang during the grand ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium Sunday night will be kept in South Korea over the next four years.
Kim Jin-sun, who is the chief organizer of the PyeongChang Games, according to the South Korean Yonhap News Agency, stayed in Sochi throughout the Winter Olympics in a bid to promote the 2018 event and to learn from the Russian host.
Apart from a minor technical glitch the opening ceremony suffered, the games were pretty seamless. Pressure will now be on South Korea to try and out-perform Sochi.
Attention has also shifted towards South Korea at a time when millions of fans of South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim, angered by her loss to Adelina Sotnikova, have petitioned on Change.org, demanding an investigation into the decision. Although it can't be said with certainly if this will be a driving force that will pressure South Korea to plan a more grandiose show to outdo Sochi, the fact that the incident seemed to hurt the collective ego of Seoul cannot be ruled out.
More importantly, being able to host winter Olympics in PyeongChang is a hard-earned achievement for South Korea. The city won the bid to host the Winter games only on its third try. It first lost to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics and lost to Sochi for this year's games. PyeongChang finally edged out Munich in its third bid in 2011, and won the much-desired privilege to host Winter Olympics for the first time.
Here are the top 5 things you should know about PyeongChang:
1. The city's full name is Pyeongchang-gun. It is located in Gangwon province, in the Taebaek Mountains region. Located approximately 180 km (110 mi) east of Seoul, the capital of South Korea, the PyeongChang County is home to several Buddist temples including Woljeongsa.
2. In preparation for the 2018 event, the region will build a number of facilities including hotels and world-class ski resort, named Alpensia, which is currently under construction. An Olympic Stadium is already in its early stages of construction at the bottom of the hill.
3. The area, especially at the southern part of Mount Seoraksan is already popular with mountain hikers. Alpensia ski resort has 6 slopes for skiing and snowboarding with runs up to 1.4 km. Alpensia will be one of the main focus in the 2018 Cultural Olympiad with a new concert hall located within the resort.
4. A special 250 km per hour KTX line has been planned between Wonju and Gangneung via Pyeongchang for the 2018 event. This will leave Seoul, the capital city only 50 minutes away from PyeongChang.
5. The average temperature of the area in the winter will be anywhere from -4C to -12C, making it an ideal host for Winter Olympics.
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