PyeongChang 2018 Officials have remained steadfast in their aspirations to build a bobsled and luge legacy for Korea and on Friday confirmed that the sliding venue will be built, as planned, at the Alspensia resort in PyeongChang.
Despite the International Committee (IOC) suggestion to host the sliding events at an existing facility in another country as far away as Europe or North America, Korean organizers are happy to take on the $100 million venue price tag and millions in annual facility maintenance costs in order to keep the legacy at home.
On Monday the IOC unanimously approved 40 reforms under the so-called Agenda 2020 umbrella including bid reforms and one that allows for some venues to be sited outside the host country in exceptional circumstances when a permanent or temporary facility doesn’t make sense. Coordination Committee Chair Gunilla Lindberg reportedly suggested that the Koreans don’t need to build the costly venue and could easily host sliding elsewhere.
On Wednesday Provincial Governor Choi Moon-soon said during a press conference that “it was against national sentiment” to move the event outside of Korea.
IOC Member John Coates who helped table the bid reforms said Tuesday “the issue of whether a major decision is going to be taken in respect to PyeongChang and going to another country for sliding sports is something that I don’t think they have their heads around yet.”
The uncertainty spread optimism in Japan, the United States and Canada – where rumoured possible replacement venues are located.
But on Friday PyeongChang 2018 Chief Yang Ho Cho framed the decision in more practical terms.
“The recently approved ‘Olympic Agenda 2020’ offer an effective and progressive opportunity for the future of the Olympic Movement, and we highly appreciate the International Olympic Committee’s drive to implement changes,” he said.
“It will be difficult to apply those recommendations to our plans at this stage, given that construction for all competition venues is already in progress.
“We will study the options once we receive more detailed information from the IOC, but for now it is our wish to have all events staged in PyeongChang, Gangneung and Jeongseon as per our original bid plan accepted by the IOC.
“We do not have much time, considering test events beginning in February 2016. We are developing solid legacy plans for post-Games use of the venues, as well as measures to control costs, and will continue to work on Games preparations in close cooperation with the IOC” Cho said.