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.

 

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 cities · Olympic venues · Sarajevo 1984 · Winter Olympics

Old Venues, Not Dead Venues

Because it’s an Olympic year–and because Rio 2016 had budget problems–we had to go through another round of Venue Talk: They’ll Never Be Used Again (What a Waste of Money).

It’s a topic that I understand is very true, but it’s also one that I think is a little blown out of proportion. Sure, there is a real problem with massive venues built for the Olympics and then never (or rarely) used again, but there is a lot of venue reuse–or, venues being brought back to life.

Case in point, the bobsled and luge track in Sarajevo. Just Google “abandoned Olympic venues” and you’ll invariably see the carnage from the 1984 Winter Olympics, which war brought about.

Unfortunately, those articles will stick around in web searches (and other bloggers are going to find them and repost them), and they might still supplant this news: The 1984 bobsled and luge run is back in action (sort of).

The Associated Press has reported that a bunch of volunteers have spent the last few years cleaning up the track and repairing it so that it’s usable as a training facility. At first, the goal was for Bosnians to be able to do their summer training on it, but word’s gotten out and now it’s becoming a regional training center because the original track is one of the best in the area.

To me, that’s the Olympic spirit at work. Don’t give up–keep at it until you achieve victory. Even though the reports are that the facilities are still pretty grim (e.g.-no bathrooms), it’s really remarkable that the luging community in Bosnia saw an opportunity and is making something happen.

The article notes that other facilities are coming back as well (or are in the planning stages of coming back). Let’s hope that some of the other abandoned facilities around the world can get life breathed back into them as well.

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!