Olympic Test Events · PyeongChang 2018 · Winter Olympics

Testing Time Is Here

Last week, Ben asked how construction’s going on the 2018 venues and whether athletes had the opportunity to test or train on them. Good question! With the news from Rio being that it was a struggle to finish some venues, you have to wonder how things are going for the next Games.

They’re going well, apparently. The PyeongChang 2018 organizers report that they’re about 90% finished with all of the venue construction, and they’re prepping for another round of test events.

Test events are competitions held in the venues that will be used in the Olympics to make sure the facility, results system, operations and stakeholders (like the international federations) are all prepared for the Games. It’s kind of like the venues’ playoff period, with the actual Olympic Games being the championship.

PyeongChang 2018 works with sporting federations to schedule events at the venues. Earlier this year, the Jongseon Alpine Centre hosted the first-ever FIS Ski World Cup downhill competition in Korea [yeah, let that sink into your brain–they’ve really never hosted a major skiing competition, but they’re going to host the Olympics in a couple of years? OK.].

In total, there were four skiing competitions this past February, testing Downhill,Super-G, Ski Slopestyle, Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross. Between this November and next April, there will be another 26 test events, starting with the FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup 2017 at the end of November. [Big Air will be a new competition for the Olympics–think ski jumping combined with snowboard half-pipe, so you snowboard down a sloped ramp, and when you launch off the ramp, you do a trick and land it.]

December will bring a Short Track Speed Skating World Cup event. January will have the FIS Far East Cup 2017, which will test Giant Slalom and Slalom.

The real fun begins in February, when 10 events take place. This will cover Cross-Country Skiing, Nordic Combined, Luge, Speed Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding, Ski Jumping, Figure Skating and Curling. There’s a lot of overlap of events too, which is a good test of being able to run multiple facilities simultaneously. February gets up to five events running at the same time.

Ben also asked whether athletes got to train at the facilities. One of the February events is an International Training Week for Luge, which means all athletes who are presumably at a certain level of competition get the opportunity to test out the track for several days and get an idea of what it’s going to be like–and how to set up their training until the Games.

In March, there’s Biathlon, more Cross-Country Skiing, the Bobsled Training Week, a couple of Alpine Skiing events, Wheelchair Curling, Snowboarding, Bobsled and Skeleton. In April, Hockey and Sledge Hockey come to town. Then in November 2017, there’s one more Luge training week currently on the docket.

That’s a pretty big schedule, but it’s good that they’re able to do so many events this far in advance and work out the kinks ahead of time. And hey, tickets are relatively cheap–and for some events, they’re free. If you go, let us know how well-run the events are!

 

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