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IOC praises Pyeongchang 2018 preparations, but legacy concerns remain

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today (Thursday) expressed its belief that Pyeongchang will stage a successful winter Olympic Games but has called on local organisers to resolve legacy issues, stating this is a “priority” ahead of next year’s event.

The IOC’s Coordination Commission concluded its ninth and final visit to the Korean host venue today. “Over the course of our three-day evaluation visit, Pyeongchang’s readiness to host the Olympic winter Games 2018 was highlighted,” Coordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg (pictured) said. 

“We saw first-hand the advancements that have been made on venues and infrastructure, as well as heard updates on plans to further engage with Olympic fans. While details must continue to be refined in the coming months, it was evident that the Organising Committee is well on its way to delivering successful Olympic and Paralympic winter Games.”

With all permanent venues complete or nearing completion, in addition to focusing on operational readiness, Pyeongchang 2018 will now ramp up its promotional activities with the second phase of ticket sales starting next week, and the Olympic Torch Relay set to begin in just over two months.

Ticket sales are believed to be another area of concern for the IOC with just 22.7 per cent of the 1.18 million tickets said to have been sold at this stage. The definitive legacy use for several venues after the Games is still outstanding and the IOC has requested that final plans be presented as a matter of urgency.

“The IOC once again requests the final plans be presented as a priority,” Lindberg said, according to Korean news agency Yonhap. “This is a concern for us. We are expecting the plans to be ready by the end of November. We have pushed not only Pyeongchang but local and national governments to come back with plans for the legacy.”

Reflecting on Pyeongchang’s general state of readiness, local organising committee president, Lee Hee-beom, said: “We are now just 162 days away from the start of the Olympic winter Games and working to put the important finishing touches to the Games. 

“We are listening, and we are responding to all of our stakeholders and taking all the feedback and advice from the sessions this week. We want to make this the best winter Games ever and showcase Korea to the world as a global leader in sports and as the new hub for winter sports in Asia.”

The 2018 Games take place from February 9-25.