South Korea to Host 2018 Winter Olympics for First Time


This year, South Korea will be hosting the Winter Olympics and has souped up its already formidable tech amenities to impress visiting nations


In 2011, the South Korean county of Pyeongchang finally won its bid for the Winter Olympics after two failed attempts to host the last two events in 2010 and 2014, where it lost to Canada and Russia respectively.

This will be the country’s first time hosting the Winter Games, and some 30 years since it last hosted the Olympics – in the 1988 Seoul Summer Games.

The counties of Pyeongchang and Jeongseon, as well as the coastal city of Gangneung, will play host to more than 100 medal events – a historic record – across 13 venues. The country has reportedly spent over USD10 billion preparing for the Games, which take place from February 9 to 25. Investment in the Games includes a trial 5G mobile platform, translation robots, and a virtual-reality theatre (for those unwilling to brave the cold), not to mention the mascots, a cute white tiger called Soohorang and an adorable Asiatic black bear named Bandabi.


The mascots Soohorang and Bandabi at an official event (Image © Jeon Han)
The mascots Soohorang and Bandabi at an official event (Photo © Jeon Han/Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)


Russia is banned from competing this year after their systemic use of performance-enhancing drugs was exposed, but Russian athletes with no previous drug violations are allowed to participate under the Olympic flag.

2018 is the first time Nigeria is participating in the Winter Games – with the first African women athletes – and also the first time that North Korea is participating, after years of nuclear tensions with its southern neighbour.


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For more stories and photographs from this issue, see Asian Geographic Issue 129, 2018


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