PyeongChang Confident Security, Budget Won’t Be Issues Leading Up To Winter Games
There will be no security or budget problems at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, organizers said. POCOG President & CEO Kim Jin-sun told SBD Global that he does not expect to face the same issues that plagued Sochi last winter. Headlines of corruption, budget overruns and security concerns dominated the coverage leading up to February’s Games in the Russian Black Sea resort town. "We do not foresee such problems during the 2018 PyeongChang Games. Korea is known to have a transparent and democratic governing system," Kim said. He also pointed to past sporting events such as the 1988 Seoul Games and the 2002 FIFA World Cup as evidence. Though the Sochi Games were a success, a reported price tag of more than $52B made them the most expensive Olympics in history. PyeongChang wants to reverse this trend of outrageous spending and calculates a budget of a little more than $9B, including an organizing budget of $2B. Kim said that the biggest project will be a $4B high-speed railway connecting Wonju and Gangneung. In comparison to Sochi, which had to be completely transformed, PyeongChang is already an established winter sports hub. "Therefore, some of the Games-related facilities such as competition venues, accommodations and transport infrastructure are already established there," Kim said. Construction of competition venues has been underway since March, and Kim said that newly built venues will launch their construction during the second half of the year as well. The same is true for the Olympic Village and the media center. The organizers’ biggest challenge has been securing high-quality accommodation options. Kim said that the POCOG has been in close consultation with the IOC and decided to expand the search radius from 50km to a one-hour drive around PyeongChang and Gangneung to find suitable lodging facilities. "[It] enabled us to include a wide range of top-level hotels and resorts that are already established in and around the host region," he said. In addition, the new high-speed railway, when completed, will reduce travel from Seoul to PyeongChang and Gangneung to one hour.