Exclusive: Pyeongchang Games could include events in Japan

Sat Dec 6, 2014 12:03pm EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

MONACO (Reuters) - Pyeongchang 2018 winter Olympics organizers and two international federations are discussing the possibility of moving some sliding competitions from the South Korean city to Japan, sources within the Olympic movement said on Saturday.

Pyeongchang's preparations for the first Asian winter Olympics outside Japan have been hit by budget problems and delays in some venues. A move to Japan's sliding center would also be in line with planned IOC changes to make the Games cheaper and more sustainable.

"This suggestion is out there," one source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. "The two federations (luge and skeleton/boblseigh) and organizers are talking about this."

It was not immediately clear what events would be moved and if they would be switched to the Nagano bobsleigh and luge park that hosted the competitions at the 1998 winter Olympics in Japan.

"It is an ongoing discussion," another source told Reuters. "Nothing is final yet but there are discussions going on. Obviously it is not something that either side wants to really make public yet."

Tensions between Japan and South Korea are currently high over Tokyo's colonial rule of Korea and the issue of sex slaves.

South Korea has also been angered with the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and repeated offerings to the Yasukuni Shrine that honors 14 Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, as well as Japan's war dead.

IOC President Thomas Bach had earlier on Saturday said the IOC would review the Pyeongchang Games after it passes 40 recommendations on Monday and Tuesday at its session in Monaco.   Continued...

Traditional drum dancers perform as the emblem of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games is seen (top) during its Launch Ceremony in Seoul May 3, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji