In 2018, South Korea won’t exactly have a tough act to follow when hosting the Winter Olympics. The events may have been a success, but the 2014 Sochi Games were surrounded by controversy.
Even before this year’s Opening Ceremony, there were complaints about the conditions in Sochi. The hotel rooms for both media members and athletes were not up to adequate standards, and pictures circulated on the Internet of the subpar conditions. The hashtag “#SochiProblems” was trending on Twitter at the start of the Games, and an account (@SociProb) detailing the poor accommodations has over 40,000 followers.
The facilities in Sochi were not up to par, even though they were the most expensive Olympics in history. Russia spent $51 billion on the 17-day event, surpassing the $40 billion spent for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. The Olympic city was built from scratch, costing the government a record amount of money.
While some of the problems in Sochi may have been overblown, Pyeongchang will look to do a better job in 2018. The Winter Olympics return to Asia for a third time, and the host city is looking to make the event an overwhelming success.
South Korea may not fare as well as Russia did in the competitions, but the country could end up doing a better job of putting on the Games. Kim Jin-sun, president of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Organizing Committee, is confident that the location of the city will make it convenient for those attending the events.
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“The finish areas of the venues are very close to the ski resort,” he said. “So we think we can create the Olympic atmosphere there, and the Seoul metropolitan area, with 25 million, will be one hour away by the high-speed railway and one and a half hours by car on the new expressway.”
South Korea won’t come close to the $51 billion that Russia spent. Many of the venues that will be used for the Olympics already exist, unlike the ones in Sochi. The Alpensia Resort will be the home for outdoor sports, making things easier for the nation. The indoor sports will be played in the coastal city of Gangnueng, and the Olympics Stadium is already under construction. With many of the facilities already in place, the infrastructure will cost an estimated $7 billion.
If the 1988 Summer Olympics are any indication, the Games should go off without a lot of major issues. The event was held in Seoul, South Korea, which is located 110 miles west of Pyeongchang.