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Volume 10 No. 24
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PyeongChang Chief Grilled Over Poor Ticket Sales, Accommodations, Venues

PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee President Lee Hee-beom faced tough questions from IOC members on Wednesday, as concerns mount about limited accommodations, poor ticket sales and a clear plan to use some Olympic facilities after the February Games. In an attempt to supercharge ticket sales, Lee said the committee has sent letters to 17 regional politicians, school superintendents and the tourism industry asking for their help. In late August, PyeongChang said only 5% of its 1.8 million tickets had been sold domestically, with another 18% sold to int'l distributors. There is a vast gap in demand among the South Korean public between the most popular and least popular sports, Lee said, with demand up to four times supply in beloved sports like short-track speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey. Meanwhile, cross country skiing and the Paralympics have sold 10-20% of supply, he said.

WAITING ON ANSWERS: Separately, IOC members complained that national Olympic teams were not being informed about lodging that has been made available to them. Also, the IOC is still awaiting long-term plans for the sliding center, the ice oval and a hockey facility, a crucial question for the IOC in light of the attention on the white elephant structures in Rio, Sochi and Athens. Also, Lee admitted the travel times from Seoul to the Olympic venues on a newly-constructed rail line are longer than originally promised, and they are considering eliminating some intermediate train stops during the Games. "There is still a lot of work to do and we will address the issues which have been identified,” said IOC member Gunilla Lindberg, who chairs the PyeongChang oversight committee.