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Legacy secured for PyeongChang 2018 venues, 2024 Youth Olympics targeted

The Men's Speed Skating Mass Start Final of PyeongChang 2018 at Gangneung Oval (by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Gangwon Province Governor, Choi Moon-soon, has revealed legacy plans for three venues from the 2018 winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, adding that a bid is set to be made for the 2024 winter Youth Olympic Games amid ongoing efforts to land the 2032 summer Games with North Korea.

The legacy plans concern Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang. Gangeung Oval, which held Olympic speed skating events, will become a multi-purpose sports and convention facility, while Gangneung Hockey Centre will become home to sporting events and art performances. The Olympic Sliding Centre is set to become a sports experience facility where visitors can try wheel bobsleigh in the summer time and bobsleigh in winter, among other activities.

Olympic organisers have been seeking to secure post-Games legacy uses for the three venues, with Korean news agency Yonhap reporting that the province was running an operating deficit while a solution was being sought. “We’ll try to add profitable facilities to sports centres,” Choi said. “Our objective is to turn to surplus within three years.”

Venues for curling, snowboarding, ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon will remain intact and continue to host sports competitions. They are set to be put into use if Gangwon succeeds in landing the 2024 YOG. Choi said Gangwon has submitted a letter of interest to the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC), with a formal bid expected to be entered to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before the end of the year.

The third edition of the winter YOG is due to be hosted by Lausanne, Switzerland next year. “If we bring the 2024 winter Youth Olympics to Gangwon, it will help revitalise the local economy,” Choi said. “And it will also ensure balanced growth across Gangwon Province and help raise the profile of the country as much as the PyeongChang winter Olympics did.”

Choi added that North Korea could also play a role in the 2024 YOG, specifically Masikryong Ski Resort as the venue for skiing events. The news comes as Korean authorities continue to advance plans to bring the summer Olympic Games to the two Koreas in 2032.

In February, Seoul was selected as South Korea’s candidate city for the proposed joint bid. Yonhap reported that South Korean President Moon Jae-in held talks with IOC president Thomas Bach in New York on Tuesday, adding that they agreed to cooperate on the subject of a joint Korean bid.

If successful, the 2032 Games will represent the second time Seoul has hosted the summer Olympics following the event in 1988.