Olympic cities · PyeongChang · PyeongChang 2018 · Winter Olympics

Who’s Carrying a Torch this Year?

The 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang is getting closer and closer–the kick off is just a few months away with the torch relay. Although plans for the relay were revealed a few months ago, we thought it would be good to revisit them because our Olympic Fever is starting to build up again.

Traditionally, the start of the relay marks 100 days to go before the Winter Olympics, but this one’s going to be 101 to “signify the opening of a new chapter for the Olympic Games,” according to the plan infographic.

Huh? I’m not quite sure what that means, but I’ll be honest–if host cities are starting to expand this event much like the Games keep expanding, it’s soon going to not be worth the effort. Torch creep could mean that by 2028, we’ll see the relay start a year ahead of time–and believe me, while it could generate a little more excitement in that moment, by the end of the relay, no one will care. We’ll all have torch fatigue by then.

But for now, we’ll have one extra day of it, and we’ll have to see what this new chapter of Olympic Games is all about.

It all kicks off in Olympia on October 24. Then the flame flies to South Korea to make a 17 city and province journey around the country. 7,500 lucky people will have the honor of being torch bearers.


Fun · Olympic Products · PyeongChang 2018

Game This Olympics

There’s Olympic Games and then Olympic games — an important part of Olympic marketing is the video game that goes along with it. This Winter Olympics it’ll be Steep: Road to the Olympics Expansion, and it looks pretty fun:

It’ll be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC, and there are multiplayer options, if you’re looking to play with people from around the world.

Hopefully it’ll be just as fun as Torino 2006, the last Winter Olympics game I bought, which has some pretty insulting sports commentary like, “Well, you rarely see a start as bad as that at this level,” and other phrases that have entered my home lexicon:

What’s your favorite Olympics-branded video game?

Olympics · PyeongChang 2018 · Tickets · Winter Olympics

2018 Ticket Time!

We’re coming up on the one-year-to-go date, for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which means that tickets are going on sale!

The buying process varies depending on where you live. If you live in Korea, you’ll buy through the PyeongChang website and go through a lottery process. That means you have from now until April 23 to apply for tickets. You only get to choose the sports and particular sessions you’d like to see. On May 8, you find out what tickets you get, and you pay for them. Then on May 14, seat assignments start, and they’re announced on September 5. If you don’t want to deal with the ticket lottery, general sales start on September 5, and in-person sales start in October.

If you don’t live in Korea, then you have to go through an Authorized Ticket Reseller (ATR). In the US, Australia, Bulgaria, Norway, Sweden and Russian Federation, that entity is Cosport. Its sales also start on February 9, and you’ll get to purchase from the allotment that’s been given to Cosport (all of the various ATRs get so many tickets–they may get more, depending on how sales are going). You still don’t get to choose your seat assignments (and there’s no guarantee that your party will even be seated together), but you’ll find out in December what you’ve been given.

Good luck to everyone purchasing tickets!

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!


Know Your Host City · Olympic cities · PyeongChang · PyeongChang 2018 · Uncategorized

PyeongChang: Let’s Get to Know You!

We’ve got a little over a year to go before the next Olympic Games, which take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, and that means we’ve got plenty of time to get to know our next host city.

Each week until the next Olympics, we’re going to write a post about some aspect of the host. If you have suggestions for posts or burning questions, let us know, and we’ll try to address them.

First off, let’s talk about the name itself. The “PyeongChang” that you’re going to see everywhere is a rebranding of the name. Yep. The original spelling was Pyongchang, which is mighty close to Pyongyang, capital of everyone’s favorite dictatorship, North Korea. Add an “e,” capitalize the “c” and voilá! You have a brand-new city that is definitely not the same. Because you know some people are going to make that mistake and wind up in a very wrong place.

[Seriously, though, if North Korea wanted to have a little fun with the world, they should create some sort of plywood Olympic facade to greet people when they got out of the airport so they’d never notice the difference. See our authentic Olympic venues? Go on, go in! There’s no labor camps behind them!]

Back to our real host place. PyeongChang is a county (gun) in Gangwon province (do), so you might hear or see these referred to as PyeongChang-gun and Gangwon-do. That just specifies the county/province.  [To add more confusion, North Korea also has a province pronounced the same way, but its English spelling is Kangwon. And it borders Gangwon-do. The only thing that would make this a more Bizarro World situation is if Pyongyang was in this province, but it’s not. According to Ganwon-do’s provincial website, the two provinces used to be one, but are now divided due to the war.]

Gangwon-do is in the northeast corner of South Korea. It’s got coastal access to the East Sea (aka Sea of Japan), is on the DMZ, and it’s also home to the Taebak Mountains, the Alps of Korea–in fact, many of the Olympic skiing events will be at Alpensia Sports Park, which is in PyeongChang-gun. Ice-related events will be east of this cluster in Gangneung, a separate city that’s closer to the coast of the East Sea . Two other venues hosting skiing events will be west and southwest of Alpensia in Bongpyeong-myeon (a township) and Jeongseon-gun.

PyeongChang 2018 boasts that its events are all within 30 minutes of Alpensia. How far is that from Seoul? It’s 182 km southeast of the country’s capital. According to a CNN article, that’s three and a half hours by car, but the country’s working on a high-speed train line that will make the journey a little under an hour.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of where in the world the Olympics will be in 2018 and what the media are talking about when they talk about PyeongChang.