Category: World Sports Created on Wednesday, 04 July 2012 14:36 Published Date Written by GNA Hits: 412
SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap/GNA) -- The opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in eastern South Korea will be held at a new venue, organizers said Wednesday.
The organizing committee said the ceremonies will take place at a practice ground called Gowon in Hoenggye, a small town within the county of PyeongChang.
The announcement came almost exactly a year after PyeongChang, an alpine town some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, won the bid to host the 2018 Winter Games, beating Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France.
Earlier, the organizing committee had set its sights on holding the ceremonies at the ski jumping facility inside Alpensia, PyeongChang's key sporting complex just south of Hoenggye. Organizers were also planning to expand the grandstands to hold up to 50,000 people.
Kim Jin-sun, chairman of the organizing committee, said evaluators from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pointed out some problems that may arise from holding ceremonies at the ski jumping site.
"The IOC officials asked us to come up with a clear alternative after we won the bid for the Olympics," Kim told reporters, adding that accessibility and securing practice hours for ski jumpers were cited as problems. "Experts took field inspections and we settled on the new venue after consulting with the IOC."
The organizing committee said the area surrounding Gowon will be developed into a major Olympic town. It will be home to an Olympic promotional hall and a traditional market selling Korean dishes.
The site for the ceremonies will cover 80,000 square meters and will have a temporary grandstand with 50,000 seats, officials said.
PyeongChang organizers will also go ahead with building the alpine skiing venue on Mt. Gariwang in Jungbong, east of PyeongChang, despite recent opposition from environmental activists. Officials said they will try to minimize damage to the natural surroundings in the area, and will rely on expertise from the IOC and the International Ski Federation.
The 2018 Winter Games are set for Feb. 9 to 25. PyeongChang is the first South Korean host of the Winter Olympics. It lost two previous bids, to Vancouver, Canada, and Sochi, Russia, before earning the right last year.
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