IOC: 'Still a lot of work to do' ahead of 2018 Winter Games

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2016 8:12 AM
IOC: 'Still a lot of work to do' ahead of 2018 Winter Games

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean organizers are "moving in the right direction" but still have a "lot of work to do" to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, IOC officials said Wednesday after their latest inspection visit.

Gunilla Lindberg, who chairs the IOC's coordination commission for the games, expressed satisfaction with the progress of venue construction and the successful holding of recent test events in Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboard.

Lindberg said organizers must press ahead to be ready for 24 test events in the next winter sports season, including a World Cup short-track speed skating event in December at the new Gangneung Ice Arena.

The International Olympic Committee said the visit — the sixth since Pyeongchang was awarded the games in 2011 — confirmed that construction on the ice venue and other competition sites was on schedule.

"There is still a lot of work to do, but Pyeongchang 2018 is on track to deliver great Olympic Winter Games for Korea and the world," Lindberg said at a news conference at the close of the commission's three-day visit.

Pyeongchang organizers last month held their first round of test events, including a World Cup downhill on a newly-built course in the county of Jeongseon.

Local organizing chief Yang-ho Cho said organizers would continue to work closely with the IOC and international sports federations as they enter the "critical operational phase of the games."

Lindberg also noted "strong and growing commercial support for the games," which had struggled to attract local sponsors. On Wednesday, department story Lotte signed up as an Olympics sponsor, and the IOC said organizers have now reached nearly 70 percent of their sponsorship target.

Lindberg said that five more hotels will be built in Gangneung and Pyeongchang, addressing concerns over a shortage of accommodation in the region for the games.