PyeongChang, South Korea – After a morning of closed-door presentations, on Friday afternoon the IOC visited the Gangeung Mountain Cluster of PyeongChang’s Olympic Winter Games bid. They toured exisiting venues and proposed venue sites for sports including ice hockey, curling, speed skating and figure skating.
At the Gangneung Skating Ring – the proposed curling venue for the Games – the IOC Evaluation Commission was treated to a vocal performance from a choir of 2018 voices who filled seating in the venue. Also on hand to greet the IOC members were internationional youths who were particiapting in the 2011 PyeongChang Dream Program – an annual event promised in PyeongChang’s failed 2010 bid that allows young people from countries that lack a winter climate to experience winter sports. The successful program has children competing in skating, skiing and ice hockey and has generated a few Olympians who have gone on to compete for their countries.
Later, the members were treated to a cultural experience at Gangneung’s Gyeongpodae Beach where thy had tea and viewed kite flying and other traditional activites. Local supporters noisily lined the streets to welcome the IOC members – some wearing masks of the Commission members.
On Friday night IOC members were treated to an official dinner at the Alpensia Convention Centre that was attended by 60 Korean dignitaries and politicians and hosted by Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik.
At a separate dinner for international journalists who are covering PyeongChang 2018, Prime Minister Kim said that he believed the Games in Korea would help ease escalated tensions with the North.
“The message of the Olympic movement holds the world together regardless of race, gender, religion and culture”, he said.
As many as 32 foreign journalists have arrived in PyeongChang to cover the event representing South Africa, United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan among others.
The IOC will wrap up their visit Saturday with more presentations in the morning and a press conference late in the day. They’ll depart Korea Sunday.