Some PyeongChang 2018 News
S. Korea forecast to finish 7th with six golds at PyeongChang
Host South Korea is expected to win six gold medals to finish seventh overall at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which kick off next week, according to a U.S. sports data analysis firm Wednesday.
The recent version of Gracenote's Virtual Medal Table also forecast that Germany will top the medals standing with 15 golds, followed by Norway with 13 and the United States with 11.
According to the U.S. firm's outlook, South Korea will likely claim six golds and three silver medals at its first ever Winter Olympic Games as host. The games begin their 17-day run on Feb. 9.
Its new estimate is one gold medal fewer than its earlier forecast released in January.
The number is equal to the county's previous medal tallies from Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010.
Gracenote said South Korea will obtain all six golds from the ice -- four from short track and two from speed skating.
It said Seo Yi-ra will be crowned champion in the men's 1,000 meters, and Choi Min-jeong and Shim Suk-hee will top the women's 1,000m and 1,500m events, respectively. The women's team is projected to win the 3,000m relay.
The host country is also expected to take both the men's and women's mass start gold medals in speed skating -- the predicted winners being Lee Seung-hoon in the men's event and Kim Bo-reum in the women's. Both skaters ranked world No. 1 in the mass start during the 2016-2017 season.
At the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, a total of 2,925 athletes from 92 countries will compete for a record 102 gold medals.
Athletes' villages in PyeongChang, Gangneung officially open
The Olympic Villages, which will accommodate 2,900 athletes during the upcoming Winter Games, officially opened Thursday.
The athletes' living quarters for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics -- split between one Olympic Village in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, and one in Gangneung, 230 kilometers east of the capital -- had their opening ceremonies, with hundreds of guests in attendance. The construction of the Villages was completed in December, but officials have been preparing other facilities since then.
PyeongChang 2018 organizing committee chief Lee Hee-beom, Korean Sport and Olympic Committee President Lee Kee-heung and Gangwon Governor Choi Moon-soon attended the opening ceremony for the PyeongChang Village. Gangneung Mayor Choi Myung-hee was among the guests at the opening ceremony for the Gangneung Village.
The national flags of the Olympic participating countries, including North Korea, were all raised at the Villages. The organizers had already hoisted all the flags except North Korea's on Wednesday. South Korea has a draconian national security law aimed at keeping anti-state and pro-communist acts at bay. Under the law, hoisting the North Korean flag is illegal here, but it is being allowed at the Olympic venues for official events approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The PyeongChang Village, located in the PyeongChang mountain cluster, will mainly serve athletes in snow sports, while the Gangneung Village, sited on the coast, will be home to those taking part in ice events.
The PyeongChang Village has eight 15-story buildings, amounting to 600 units. Its Gangneung counterpart has nine 25-story buildings, or 922 units. The two villages can house nearly 7,000 residents, according to the organizers.
The PyeongChang Village will be used for both the Olympics and the Paralympics. The Gangneung residence will only be in use during the Winter Olympics.
Each village is divided into a residential area, an athletes' plaza and an operations area, and includes banks, post offices, convenience stores, laundries, florists, beauty salons, fitness centers and multi-faith centers with prayer rooms. The dining halls will be open 24 hours and will have 450 food choices on the menu, including Korean, Western and Asian cuisines, along with vegetarian food and meals for those with religious requirements.
Arriving delegations will have a welcoming ceremony at the plaza in their village. There is also a venue to stage various cultural events, including K-pop concerts.
The organizing committee said that on the opening day, nearly 500 athletes from 22 nations, including the United States, Japan and Canada, were scheduled to check in. South Korean athletes for snow events will also move into the PyeongChang residence on the same day, while their teammates in ice sports are scheduled to arrive in the Gangneung Village next week.
The first welcoming ceremony will take place at the PyeongChang Village for teams from Jamaica, Brazil, Romania and Belgium on Monday. Host South Korea will have its welcoming ceremony two days later.
North Korea, whose main delegation will arrive at Yangyang International Airport later Thursday, will use the Gangneung Village for its athletes.
The first Winter Olympics in South Korea will run from Feb. 9 to 25.
Today was the Grand Opening of the Olympic Villages in #PyeongChang and #Gangneung.🎉 We welcome all the athletes to #PyeongChang2018.❄⛄❄<경> 2018평창 선수촌 개촌 <축> 평창, 강릉에 위치한 선수촌에서 이제 8일 뒤면— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) February 1, 2018
멋진 시나리오를 쓰게 될 전 세계 선수들을 환영합니다! pic.twitter.com/Pcydx9Ny9w
PyeongChang organizers promise to improve volunteers' working conditions
The organizing committee of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Wednesday promised to improve the working conditions of unpaid volunteers in response to reports of excessively long commutes and limited access to hot water at several lodging facilities.
"We're aware that a lot of complaints over poor conditions are being made, as an increasing number of volunteers are arriving at key sites," the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Games (POCOG) said.
The committee explained that it will focus on solving inconveniences for 15,000 volunteers by adding more shuttle buses and will also address complaints over lodging accommodations.
The committee runs 38 lodging facilities for volunteers in and around PyeongChang, including in Gangneung, Wonju and Yangyang. POCOG has reportedly received numerous complaints from volunteers of excessively long waits at outdoor bus stops in the region's infamously cold winter weather.
"We're working on adding more drivers and buses during commuting hours," the committee explained.
Complaints of limited access to hot water at several lodging facilities have also been raised by volunteers. POCOG acknowledged the issue and explained that it has renegotiated the terms with the facilities in question, allowing the use of hot water for 24 hours a day.
Lee Hee-beom, POCOG president, noted that there are limitations to what organizers could do to better accommodate volunteers, considering PyeongChang is essentially a rural area with limited infrastructure compared to larger cities.
The president asked for volunteers' cooperation, saying, "The volunteers' participation and activities are crucial to the success of the PyeongChang Olympics."
Some 2,000 volunteers drop out before PyeongChang Olympics
Some 2,000 unpaid volunteers for the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics have dropped out even before the multi-sport event begins, officials confirmed Friday, amid rising complaints over their poor working conditions.
"These 2,000 people have already expressed their intention to give up before joining us," said an official from the organizing committee of the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. "We're now watching whether the number of dropouts increases in the coming days."
The Olympic organizer has a plan to commit some 15,000 volunteer workers to the first Winter Olympics on South Korea soil. But many are worried that fewer than the target number of volunteers will actually participate in the event if more people do not show up by the official opening.
Recently, news reports said that those working in advance in key Olympic facilities, such as the Main Press Centre and athletes' villages, are struggling with excessively long commutes and limited access to hot water at several lodging facilities.
The organizing committee promised to give better accommodation to volunteers before the Olympic Games kicks off next Friday.
"We will focus on reducing their inconveniences by improving their quarters and increasing the number of shuttle buses," it said. "We kindly ask all volunteers to take part in the event until the end of the competition."
Some torch-bears for January
#LEO of #VIXX participated in the torch relay in #Seoul just a few minutes ago☄ Here’s the fancy video! 조금 전 #서울 을 환하게 빛낸 #빅스 #레오 의 성화봉송!💝 #체육돌 답게 #2018평창 성화봉송 주자로 뛰었네요🌟 따끈따끈한 레오의 봉송 장면을 함께 보시죠!🔥 pic.twitter.com/r8YoF3DDlM— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 13, 2018
One of the top ballad groups in Korea, #2AM's member #JungJinWoon has just run as a torchbearer in #Seoul😍 He's so excited with the citizens!🔥😁 춤🌟신🌟춤🌟왕🌟 강림! #2AM #정진운 님의 방금 전 #서울 성화봉송🔥 감성 발라더의 잔망스럽고 유쾌한 성화봉송, 영상으로 만나보세요!😁 pic.twitter.com/wYDPFlhRSu— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 14, 2018
#Mino of #WINNER and a Korean famous actor #JungGyungHo came out to participate in the Olympic torch relay🔥훈훈함과 훈훈함이 만나면 뜨거움인가요? 조금 전 #위너 #송민호 와 배우 #정경호 님의 서울 성화봉송! 사진으로 보시죠📸 pic.twitter.com/1YvaHDcaAw— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 14, 2018
#N of #VIXX showed us all what he can do at the Olympic torch relay today! His naughty antics entertain us all😍 Come see this one👍아, 잔망스러운 이 자태😍 성화봉송 내내 흥을 감추질 못하는 #빅스 #엔!!! 귀여움 폭발하는 #차학연 님의 영상 보고 가세요! 여러분도 즐거워질거예요>< pic.twitter.com/GeCGUnlUt4— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 15, 2018
The Honorary Ambassador for #PyeongChang2018, #Sean joined the Seoul citizens as the Olympic torchbearer today. #2018평창 의 열혈 홍보대사 #션💕 오늘은 #서울 성화봉송 주자로!🌟 개막까지 25일 남은 지금, 시민들과 션 님의 기운을 받아 더욱 뜨겁게 달려갈 것 같네요🔥 pic.twitter.com/cnqfhI3XFb— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 15, 2018
One of the famous Kpop girl groups in Korea, #WJSN has run as the Olympic torchbearer🔥 Today, the last day in #Seoul, the torch will shine more brightly🌟방금 전 상큼미 터지는 #우주소녀 의 성화봉송💕🔥이 뜨거운 불꽃이 여러분께 닿기를🎶#연정 #루다 #엑시 #보나 #설아 #너에게닿기를 pic.twitter.com/shbOafOfgb— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 16, 2018
#Mamamoo, one of the best Kpop artists in Korea, just joined the Seoul citizens! See how they are doing in the torch relay! 이 분들로 말할 것 같으면~🎶 방금 전 성화봉송 주자로 나타난 #마마무 !!💗 오늘도 저 걸크러쉬는 숨길 수가 없네요! 언제나 유쾌한 그녀들의 파워 성화봉송입니다🔥 pic.twitter.com/zO8ngD5Si2— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 16, 2018
Attention all K-pop fans! #Donghae and #Yesung of #SuperJunior just appeared as our torchbearers! The energetic roar of the crowd just shook #Goyang 💪방금 전 난리난 고양시 상황.mp4 #슈퍼주니어 #동해 #예성 의 성화봉송 출현에 팬들과 시민들의 환호성이 끊이질 않네요!!🔥 pic.twitter.com/Jc5d3bF4iX— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 18, 2018
I am the best~ 🎶 Sandra Park, a singer, an actress and a fashionista continued the relay just now! 😍 She even cheered for the athletes!! 😘 내가 제일 잘나가🤘 가수로, 배우로, 패셔니스타로 #제일잘나가 는 #산다라박!😘 선수들을 향한 응원까지 힘차게 해주시네요!! 방금 전 상황입니다! pic.twitter.com/z1cPTx5Hh6— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 18, 2018
Korean actor #JangKeunSuk and former athletes who are now Honorary Ambassadors of #Gangwondo ran as the torchbearers yesterday in #Chuncheon ♥️어제의 성화는 #춘천 에서✔️선수들이 흘렸던 땀, 눈물들이 설원 위에서 밝게 빛나기를 바란다고 합니다!💦✨❄️#torchrelay #PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/PM784U7Aql— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 30, 2018
Korea's Diva #Insooni is singing the theme song of the Torch Relay, #LetEveryoneShine whilst running! 😻 She shines as bright as the flame 🌟🔥 #Legend #PyeongChang2018 성화봉송 주제가인 LetEveryneShine 을 직접 부르며 달리는 가수 #인순이 ! #OlympicTorchRelay #2018평창 pic.twitter.com/eMcZoqlU2I— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) January 30, 2018
Also, Akdong Musician's Suhyun but they didn't give her a tweet. So here's a cute pic of her:
The athletes have started to arrive
Team Netherlands🇳🇱 Canada🇨🇦 Romania🇷🇴 USA🇺🇸 Australia🇭🇲 finally arrived in Korea yesterday! 🇰🇷 See the photos as they arrive in Incheon International Airport! 어제 2월 1일에는 네덜란드, 캐나다, 루마니아, 미국, 호주, 선수들이 한국 땅을 밟았습니다👣 pic.twitter.com/d8zOcxNpYB— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) February 2, 2018
Team #France🇫🇷, #Norway🇳🇴, #Belarus🇧🇾, #Swiss🇨🇭, #Finland🇫🇮, #China🇨🇳, #USA🇺🇸, #Czech🇨🇿, #Kazakhstan🇰🇿 and #OAR have arrived in Korea today!🇰🇷 프랑스, 노르웨이, 벨라루스, 스위스, 핀란드, 중국, 미국, 체코, 카자흐스탄 선수들이 오늘 우리나라로 입국했습니다!✈ pic.twitter.com/9aJ1gJFkbf— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) February 2, 2018
5 days to go!
Sources: pyeongchang2018 Twitter, KoreaHerald, Yonhap 1 2 3, coke.style