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IOC pleased with PyeongChang 2018 progress

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said PyeongChang 2018 is on the “right track” in its preparations for the winter Olympic Games, adding that a breakthrough is expected in the troublesome field of domestic sponsorship.

The IOC’s Coordination Commission for the 2018 Games today concluded its third inspection visit to the Korean city in the wake of Sochi’s staging of the 2014 Games. IOC Coordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg said: “We were able to see that a large amount has been accomplished by POCOG (PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee) and its partners since our last visit in June 2013.”

She continued: “The participation of the International Federations, the Korean Olympic and Paralympic Committees, and the Korean national winter sports federations was also very beneficial and allowed POCOG to engage in in-depth discussions on all topics related to the venues and sport. The 2018 Games are on the right track but it is clear that much work remains. We are confident that POCOG and Korea will deliver great Games for the athletes in 2018.”

The Commission identified a number of key areas that it said require POCOG’s “focus” over the next six months. These include marketing, venue construction, test events and Games services. In the area of marketing, the IOC said it “noted with satisfaction” that POCOG is in the process of finalising its first domestic partnership contract.

Having being elected to host the 2018 Games in July 2011, PyeongChang has yet to secure any local sponsorship – a fact that has been of concern for Olympic officials. PyeongChang 2018 president Kim Jin-sun said in February that final negotiations were taking place with sponsors in the apparel and telecommunications sectors.

Elsewhere, the Commission was informed that construction companies were being appointed for venues and that some construction was underway. It underlined the need for timelines to be carefully defined and adhered to, so as to avoid any impacts on test events. Test event preparations beyond venues were also highlighted, as the hiring and training of staff and volunteers should begin in the near future.

Finally, with timelines tight for the completion of accommodation contracting, the development of the Mountain Olympic Village and the transport management plan, the Coordination Commission encouraged POCOG to ensure that the “appropriate focus and resources” were dedicated to these areas.

Kim said: “We had very practical and detailed discussions. With what came out of these discussions, we will ensure seamless preparation of ‘Best Games’ in order to make the PyeongChang 2018 Games something special, something different and something unique. This year is a big turning point for us. We must establish a solid framework. As I always stress, we have no time to practice and no time for trial and error. We will streamline our Master Schedule and set our priorities straight so that everything runs smoothly according to the timeline.”

The fourth Coordination Commission visit to PyeongChang will take place at the end of November, while in June, PyeongChang will play host to the official IOC Debriefing of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games with the participation of all the principal Games stakeholders.