Olympic Notes: Holland Heineken House A Hit In Pyeongchang
In South Korea, Kim Hyun-bin noted the Netherlands' official Olympic house, named the "Holland Heineken House," has "racked up quite a reputation and has become a hotspot in town for fans and visitors to maximize their Olympic experience." Seven hundred tickets are "available daily" to enter the house, but "all have been sold out" since the Games began. At 10:00pm local time, the lights at the house are "dimmed, disco lights pop on, accompanied by a DJ spinning the latest hits to hype the crowd." In a matter of seconds, the "whole ambiance of the Holland House turns from a sports bar to the hottest club in town" (KOREATIMES.co.kr, 2/22).
A PLACE TO BELONG: In Toronto, Bruce Arthur noted the Olympic Pride House was "first founded" at the '10 Vancouver Games, then it "appeared in London as a part-time thing, was banned altogether in Sochi, and reappeared in Rio." But in Pyeongchang, there was "no government support, and no funding" until Canada House "stepped in." Pride House sits in "just [a] corner" of the Canada House. There is a "goalie stick with rainbow tape, signage and a flag, a place to tape interviews" and "sponsorship from Sport Chek." Arthur: "It's small, but it's here" (TORONTOSTAR.com, 2/22).
NOT CREATED EQUAL: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Germano & Jeong write the "finish line seating bowl at the Olympic Sliding Center, where luge, bobsled, and skeleton take place, might be the worst ticket at the Olympics, as measured by actual time spent viewing competition in progress." The seats, tickets for which "cost between $66 and $94, are located about 200 meters past the finish line, and not facing it directly." Spectators "mostly get to see competitors pull up in their sleds to slow down and dismount the ice." The rest of the race is "shown on television in the seating area." But not all venues are "created equal." Ice arenas, where skating, hockey and curling take place, have "unobstructed views for the duration of their competitions." Outdoor venues, including those for alpine and nordic skiing, sliding sports and snowboarding, have "varying levels of visibility" (WSJ.com, 2/23).
REGRETFUL DECISION? A USA TODAY editorial states that the NHL's decision to "eschew the Olympics seems particularly short-sighted." While it is "clearly the best, it faces competition from high-quality leagues in Scandinavia and Germany as well as the Kontinental Hockey League, which reaches from China and Russia through Eastern Europe." That Olympic audiences "saw players from those leagues and not the NHL will not help its cause." In fact, it is "quite possible that European leagues could capture more eyeballs worldwide, causing the NHL to rue the day it decided to stay home" (USA TODAY, 2/23).