Picture of the Day: Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium Nears Completion

PyeongChang ceremonial venue nears completion

This photo, taken on Sept. 29, 2017, shows PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, the stage for the upcoming opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul. PyeongChang’s organizing committee said the 35,000-seat venue will be finished the following day, 22 months after the start of its construction. (Yonhap)

Athletes Worry that 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea Could Be Cancelled

The North Koreans bombed an airliner prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the games still occurred so I don’t think a bunch of rhetoric is going to stop the Winter Olympics:

But here we are, talking about miniaturization and intercontinental ballistic missiles, fretting about that inflection point where words turn to bombs, understanding that not only PyeongChang next year but Tokyo in 2020 will live under the constant threat of annihilation from the most irrational of actors.

And it’s amid this dread that Olympians stare at the potential danger, weigh it against four years of grueling training for an unmatched apex and, well, shrug. They comprehend the gravity. They recognize the threat. They’ve just got better things to do than worry about it.

Maddie Bowman is 23 years old. She won Olympic gold in Sochi with a flawless halfpipe skiing run and went viral thanks to her grandma. She balances training for PyeongChang with studying for college, though neither keeps her from remaining historically conscious enough to grasp the threat of North Korea that has existed for decades.

Still, when Bowman attended a February test event at Bokwang Phoenix Park, where the freeskiing and snowboarding halfpipe contests will take place, no sense of impending doom imperiled her.

“When we went to South Korea, I felt safe,” Bowman told Yahoo Sports. “And in Russia, I felt pretty safe. I think as skiers, we obviously don’t see risk as a big thing in our lives. In talking with fellow athletes, it’s like, yeah, maybe the Olympics won’t happen, but it’s hard for us to see that risk. It’s not going to get in the way of my goals. I like to keep up with what’s going on in the world and am concerned with decisions we make as a country, but it’s not affecting my training.”

The chatter among fellow Olympians, Bowman said, centers more on the possibility of the PyeongChang Games being canceled rather than athletes pulling out because of concerns over the region’s stability.  [Yahoo Sports]

You can read more at the link, but unless an actual conflict breaks out I would be very surprised if the Winter Olympics is cancelled.

Did Major Media Outlets Get Duped By Report of Olympic Plane Mistakenly Landing In Pyongyang?

I saw this article in The Telegraph as well as posted on other sites and thought to myself it could not possibly be true:

A picture of the supposed corporate jet that mistakenly landed in Pyongyang.

A delegation of corporate sponsors of next year’s winter Olympics in the South Korean city of PyeongChang was flown to the North Korean capital Pyongyang by mistake, it has emerged.

According to the Around the Rings website the pilot of the corporate jet made a mistake when he entered the flight plan into the aircraft’s navigation system.

It steered the aircraft 250 miles further north than its intended destination.

The plane was carrying eight passengers from Beijing who were on a reconnaissance trip.

Bemused flight control staff at the North Korean capital allowed the Gulfstream and its passengers to land before the plane was ushered to a remote part of the airport.

“We stopped on the tarmac. The pilot announced the error. We were petrified about what might happen,” one of the delegation said later.

“He told us to stay seated, stay calm. A cabin steward popped the door open and we could see armed men in uniform facing the plane.”

With the aid of a translator, the pilot apologised profusely. The passengers were told to disembark while their luggage was inspected.

After inspecting the collection of Olympic badges, which were intended to be delivered to PyeongChang, the North Koreans were satisfied that the landing was completely inadvertent and the plane was allowed to carry on to South Korea.   [The Telegraph]

This story just sounded to unbelievable to me so I checked out the source posting from the Around the Rings website.  The article is from an anonymous source and posted on April 1st, which is April’s Fools Day.  This leads me to believe this is a hoax posting.

What gets me about this is that major news outlets were passing this around because of the sensational headline and did not even bother to confirm its authenticity.  This is the world of fake news journalism we now live in.

US & ROK Marines Conduct Winter Training at 2018 Winter Olympics Site

It looks like ROK and US Marines are getting some good winter training in which the Kim regime is not happy about:

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea: South Korean and US Marines are conducting military exercises on ski slopes in sub-freezing temperatures, including shirtless hand-to-hand combat in the snow, prompting warnings of retaliation from North Korea over “madcap mid-winter” drills.

More than 300 Marines are taking part, simulating combat on the ski slopes of Pyeongchang, host of the 2018 Winter Olympics, amid speculation North Korea could be planning another missile test in defiance of U.N. resolutions.

“U.S. Marine Corps and ROK (Republic of Korea) Marine Corps partnered together at every level to build a camaraderie and friendship of the two countries’ militaries but also to increase our proficiency in the event where we have to fight a war together,” U.S. Captain Marcus Carlstrom told reporters.   [Channel News Asia]

You can read more at the link.

Another Bewildering Slogan Adopted by Korea to Promote 2018 Winter Olympics

Via a reader tip comes the latest slogan disaster from South Korea, this time from the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics:

“It’s you, PyeongChang.”

It makes sense grammatically, but what does it mean?

Many foreigners scratched their heads after reading the sentence featuring in an advertisement in major newspapers on Monday meant to promote the nation’s first winter Olympics in the mountain city of PyeongChang in February 2018.

The Gangwon Province government that created the ad said “It’s you, PyeongChang” was intended to promote that every member of the global village, Koreans and non-Koreans alike, has a role to make the event a success.

Yet few seemed to have found the message from it.

“The phrase doesn’t reach me in anyway,” said Celeste Kriel, a South African living in Seoul. “It can be interpreted in so many ways that it’s hard to grasp the message.”

An American teacher in Seoul said, “It sounds like they are really missing PyongChang… Maybe PyongChang is their long lost lover?”

Several other foreigners told The Korea Times that the message “unclear” and bewildering.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but I wonder how much money they paid for some PR firm to come up with this slogan.  Should have just asked us here at the ROK Drop to come up with slogans.  Does anyone have any slogan suggestions they want to share?

Picture of the Day: IOC Chairwoman Visits Korea

IOC coordination commission chief in Seoul

Gunilla Lindberg, chairwoman of the IOC Coordination Commission, tours the construction site of the Ice Arena, the venue for the short track and figure skating competitions for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Jan. 15, 2015. (Yonhap)

Korea Declines IOC Recommendation to Share 2018 Winter Olympics with Japan

There has been funding battles going on between the national and provincials governments in Korea in regards to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.  The IOC has now stepped in to recommend that Korea try and share the 2018 Games with Japan to reduce costs.  It appears the suggestion of sharing the games with their rival Japan has gotten the attention of Korea:

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The 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games chief organizer confirmed Friday “there is no possibility” events will be shared with cities outside of Korea.

“Construction for all the venues for the PyeongChang Games has begun. At this juncture, it is difficult to adopt the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) reform package,” the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) President and CEO Cho Yang-ho said in a statement.

He said he “highly appreciates” the IOC’s initiative for the reforms because it will be very effective for the Olympic Movement down the road, but insists all events in 2018 will be staged in the counties of PyeongChang and Jeongseon, and the city of Gangneung.

The IOC Monday unanimously approved President Thomas Bach’s 40-point “Olympic Agenda 2020” reform package, which includes recommendations allowing cities to stage some events in different countries to cut costs.

The IOC is worried that a new sliding venue under construction in Gangwon Province may have little use after the Games and wants the POCOG to move sliding events to countries that already have venues, such as Japan. But, local governments and interested parties have insisted they have no intention of splitting the host role with other countries.  [Korea Times]

So the bottom line is that all the venues that will have no use after the Olympics will be built.

Pyeongchang Threatens to End Support for 2018 Winter Olympics

I am sure the Korean government will get this worked out because I see no way that they will not host the 2018 Games.  It seems to me this is a national effort and a small province like Gangwon should not be expected to provide so much funding for this international event:

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The 2018 PyeongChang Olympics may be in limbo, with the government and Gangwon Province locking horns over who will cover the 11.1-trillion-won cost for the quadrennial event, especially the cost of building the Olympic stadium.

The Gangwon Provincial Council recently threatened that if the government does not provide sufficient financial support for the Olympics, it will “readily give up the right to host the event.”

When asked about its stance over this threat, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last week it “will not speculate on hypothetical situations,” adding that it believes Korea and PyeongChang will show their commitment by solving the problem.

“Since the candidature phase, a number of options have been looked at for the ceremony’s stadiums and the IOC remains very flexible in discussing any proposals from the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee,” Rachel Rominger, an IOC representative, said in an e-mail reply to The Korea Times.

On Monday, Council members of Gangwon Province and other cities and counties where the various Olympic sporting events will be held visited the National Assembly and urged the government to increase its financial support in order to avoid controversy.

“The event is an international one and will be held on our soil for the first time, but the government focuses only on the economic aspects and refrains from giving due support,” an official at the Gangwon Provincial Assembly said.

Their harsh remarks came shortly after the government’s recent decision regarding the construction of the new Olympic stadium at Hoenggye-ri in PyeongChang County. The government decided to cover only 50 percent of the cost, while Gangwon Province and the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) would shoulder the other 50 percent.

However, the province wants the government to cover 75 percent of the costs.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but if the South Koreans cannot get this work out I know someone who is willing to help.