[Letters] Pyeongchang 2018: The hope and expectationOn July 6, 2011, Pyeongchang was selected as the venue for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Nominated with Munich and Annecy, France, Pyeongchang received the overwhelming 65 out of 95 votes from IOC members and won the honor.
It’s not the first time Korea will host the Olympic Games. However, as I am only 17-years-old, I never had the opportunity to see the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The news that my country will be the host of the upcoming Winter Olympics has made me excited and I am certain that many high school students share the same sentiment.
Of course, I am aware that being the host of the Olympic Games does not necessarily result in positive outcomes alone. Some of the Pyeongchang residents may feel that they haven’t even been asked properly whether they wanted to host the Winter Games in the first place. And some residents may find the extra safety measures and procedures which they will have to go through as they prepare for such an important occasion to be rather frustrating.
Moreover, all the infrastructure and facilities constructed and developed for the Olympics will be hard to maintain after the big event. As the facilities are huge in size and scale, the city will inevitably end up spending a tremendous amount of money each year in order to keep them in good condition.
Furthermore, environmental damage seems to be unavoidable. Building roads, tracks and stadiums will directly affect the natural surroundings of Pyeongchang. Stadiums will have to be built over mountains, which would result in deforestation in some areas.
Even though Pyeongchang is a mountainous region with snow in winter, it has been suggested that the annual average amount of snow in Pyeongchang will not be sufficient to cover what is needed for the Winter Olympics. Therefore, artificial snow will have to be produced, thus emitting tons of carbon dioxide into the air and causing pollution in the region.
On the bright side, if the whole event is operated efficiently, the country itself will reap financial benefits. For instance, tourists and visitors from other countries and Korean companies’ increased sales of various products will have a positive effect on the national economy.
Preparing for the Olympics and building and installing necessary infrastructure and facilities will require more workers, which will lead to increased job opportunities. In addition, as foreigners visit Korea during the Olympics, the country will be placed on an international stage, allowing for the promotion of many different aspects of the country.
Considering these positive and negative aspects at the same time, I think the advantages of staging the Winter Olympics in the country outweigh the disadvantages and the occasion is thoroughly meaningful. In 2018, I will be 24-years-old, and for such a momentous event, I am really looking forward to contributing to the Olympics in various ways.
Most importantly, I will enjoy watching the games myself and root for Korean athletes with pride. Also, I could volunteer for interpreting and guiding foreigners who visit Korea. I believe the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games will be a wonderful opportunity where we can all be united regardless of our backgrounds and interests. Let us pull our talents and passions together so that each of us can play a part in making the event a huge success that will go down in history.
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Park Young-hyun, a student at Baekyoung High School.