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Pyeongchang preps for Winter Olympics 2018

I’VE always been a fan of winter sports, particularly skating and hockey. I am not fond of watching television. But I do have cable television installed every two years —just to watch the Olympics, Summer and Winter.

So it is with great anticipation that I await the staging of the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Preparations are already underway with several activities having kicked off last month for “G-1”, a term “coined to refer to the period of one year before the beginning of the Olympic Games,” according to the Pyeongchang 2018 publicity committee.

Last Feb. 9, The Pyeongchang Olympic G-1 cultural festival was officially launched in Gangwon province and in Seoul. Bearing the slogan “It’s time for Pyeongchang”, the festival has among its aims to “show the world all the preparations” that have been made for the coming edition of the Winter Games and “introduce excellent cultural programs that will go on to become part of the legacy of the Republic of Korea.” The year-long slate of cultural events is being referred to as a “cultural Olympiad.”

On Feb. 8 in Seoul Plaza, the Pyeongchang 2018 countdown clock was unveiled. The clock tower will stand there until March 20 next year.

On Feb. 9, exactly one year before the kickoff of the 2018 Winter Olympics, an opening celebration for the G-1 Festival was held at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangwon province. Among the attendees were members of the International Olympic Committee, the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee, and the organizing committee for the 2018 Winter Games. The winter torch was unveiled and other activities were conducted to invite the world to the event.

Fans enamored by the hallyu or “Korean wave” should see this as an opportunity to view many cultural events such as K-pop concerts, street food festivals, art shows, and more throughout the G-1 year.

It’s also time to start saving up to watch the Olympics itself, hopefully to see Philippine pride figure skater Michael Martinez as one of the competitors there.

He has been in fierce training and finished ninth overall in the Asian Winter Games (held every four years) in Sapporo last Sunday. He garnered a total of 211.96 points - 135.43 in the freeskate and a career-high of 76.53 in the short program.

Martinez will be competing at the World Championships in Helsinki on March 29 to April 2, and for the first time in the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 19 to 31.

Going back to the 2018 Winter Games, the venue for the short track speed skating and figure skating competitions is the Gangneung Ice arena, which was fully constructed last year and completely iced for the International Skating Union’s World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series, held Dec. 16 to 19, 2016. The event served as a qualifying event for Pyeongchang 2018. Held at the same venue was the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, on Feb. 14 to 19 this year.

The Gangneung Ice Arena seats 12,000 and boasts the best equipment for humidity and temperature controls, considering that speed skating requires harder ice and figure skating softer ice to provide some cushioning for the jumps and landings.

With this venue and other excellent facilities in place, the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics should be one to look forward to. Remind me to call my cable TV provider next year.

★★★★★

Dr. Ortuoste is a California-based writer. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @gogirlracing and @jennyortuoste, and Instagram: @jensdecember 

Topics: 2018 Winter Olympics , Paralympics Games , Pyeongchang , South Korea
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