Pyeongchang can't afford to lose focus, says IOC commission

Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:34am EDT
 
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SEOUL (Reuters) - Pyeongchang's preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics received a thumbs-up from International Olympic Committee's coordination commission but the organizers were told they cannot afford to relax yet.

"The venues continue to progress rapidly," Gunilla Lindberg, who chairs the commission, said in a statement after the commission concluded its three-day visit.

"We visited Jeongseon (Alpine Center) and the Alpensia Sliding Center and got a really good impression of what the athletes will experience come Games time."

The Swede also took the occasion to remind the organizers they enter the delivery phase of their preparations of Asia's first Winter Games outside Japan.

"The competition sites remain on schedule for the Games but the organizers need to maintain their focus, as some delivery dates are very close to the start of the test events," she said.

"It is important that Pyeongchang 2018 delivers these events successfully and, in particular, the first events next February, in order to create a solid basis for its planning and preparations for the Games."

Concerns about costs and construction delays had raised speculation earlier this year that some of the events might have to be moved away from Pyeongchang, perhaps even to Japan.

However, those concerns have eased and major South Korean companies such as Samsung and Korean Air have agreed to pour in funds to support the Games in Pyeongchang, some 180 kilometers east of the capital Seoul.

The organizers said they have reached over 50 percent of their sponsorship target which underlines the strong backing of the Korean business community.   Continued...

 
Head of the IOC Evaluation Commission Gunilla Lindberg is seen during her visit in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, south of Munich March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle