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IOC buoyed by PyeongChang 2018 progress

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said PyeongChang is on course to deliver a successful 2018 winter Olympic Games, but has maintained a lot of work remains in the remaining two years before the event.

The IOC’s Coordination Commission for PyeongChang 2018 wrapped up its sixth visit to the Korean host of the next edition of the winter Olympics today (Thursday), with chair Gunilla Lindberg (pictured) upbeat over progress in preparations.

“PyeongChang is on track to deliver a great winter Olympics for Korea and for the world,” she said at a press conference. “We have more work to do, but still have two years to go. We're exchanging information and expertise, and we’ve also had a lot of help from international federations and cooperation from national sports federations in Korea.”

Lindberg said she was especially pleased with the standard of Olympic test events held across Gangwon Province in recent weeks. In February, Jeongseon hosted the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) World Cup in men's downhill and Super-G at the new Jeongseon Alpine Centre. World Cup races in snowboard and freestyle skiing were also held in the region late last month.

“The first round of test events won praise from athletes and positive reviews from technical experts,” Lindberg said. “The test events proved a good education process for (winter sports) federations.”

The number of events and the workload for PyeongChang 2018 will soon increase dramatically, with 24 test events set for the next winter sports season. The first test event, the International Skating Union’s (ISU) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating, is scheduled for December at the new Gangneung Ice Arena.

Cho Yang-ho, president of PyeongChang 2018, said: “With the test events, our preparation has entered the operational phase. We still have issues to address and may encounter unexpected problems. However, with strong support from the IOC and continued cooperation with the government, we will ensure a successful Olympics.”

A test event held earlier this month at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, the new venue for bobsleigh, skeleton and luge, was hit by ice problems. Lindberg said she didn’t consider the issue a “big problem” adding: “This is the whole purpose of test events – you test and improve. They will work on that and have a new event coming up (the IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup in February 2017).”

Lindberg added that five more hotels will be built in Gangneung and PyeongChang, addressing concerns over a shortage of accommodation in the region for the Games.