Gangwon finds a use for Olympic venues

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Gangwon finds a use for Olympic venues

Competition venues from the 2018 Winter Olympics will be turned into a sports and convention center and cultural facilities, the local government said Tuesday.

Choi Moon-soon, governor of Gangwon Province, announced plans to turn three PyeongChang Winter Games facilities into profitable spaces. They are Gangneung Oval and Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon, and Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang, Gangwon.

In a press briefing at the provincial government headquarters in Chuncheon, Gangwon, Choi said Gangneung Oval, which held Olympic speed skating races, will become a multi-purpose sports and convention facility. Gangneung Hockey Centre will host sporting events and art performances. Olympic Sliding Centre will be a sports experience facility where visitors can try wheel bobsleigh in summers and bobsleigh in winters, among other activities.

“We’ll try to add profitable facilities to sports centers,” Choi said. “Our objective is to turn to surplus within three years.”

After the first Winter Games to take place in Korea ended February last year, the organizers have been scrambling to devise plans to make the use of competition venues.

With the organizing committee and Gangwon authorities unable to come up with a solution on the remaining venues for speed skating, hockey and sliding sports, the province was running an operating deficit.

Earlier this year, PyeongChang said the former headquarters for the organizing committee will become a sports training center, and the International Broadcasting Centre will be turned into a national archive.

Venues for curling, snowboarding, ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon have been kept intact and will continue to host sports competitions.

To that end, Gangwon also announced its bid to host the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics.

Choi said the province has submitted its letter of interest to the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC).

“If we bring the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics to Gangwon, it will help revitalize the local economy,” Choi said. “And it will also ensure balanced growth across Gangwon Province and help raise the profile of the country as much as the PyeongChang Winter Olympics did.”

The KSOC will conduct on-site inspections sometime in October and submit the province’s bid to the International Olympic Committee before the end of this year.

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