Pyeongchang 2018 held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the Olympic and Paralympic Village here today, which signalled the official start to the construction of the venue.
The ceremony was attended by Pyeongchang 2018 President Cho Yang-ho, as well as members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission, led by chair Gunilla Lindberg.
The project, privately funded by the Yongpyong Resort, carries an estimated cost of around ₩180 billion (£98 million/€153 million/€137 million) and is due to be completed in September 2017, less than six months before the 2018 Winter Olympic Games open on February 9.
It will house around 3,500 athletes during the Games, largely those who will compete in the giant slalom and slalom events located at the nearby Yongpyong Alpine Centre, and will consist of eight main buildings.
The Village will then be used for the Winter Paralympic Games, which run from March 9 to 18.
Each member of the Coordination Commission, currently undertaking its fifth visit to Pyeongchang to inspect preparations including venues and transport, took part in the ceremony, digging a shovel into the ground to mark the start to the full building effort.
“The groundbreaking ceremony for the Pyeongchang Olympic and Paralympic Village carries significant meaning in many aspects,” Pyeongchang 2018 President Cho Yang-ho said.
“Pyeongchang 2018 is committed to building a Village that will provide the best possible environment for athletes so they can be in optimal condition for their competition.
“Pyeongchang 2018 also wants it to be as comfortable as they are at home where they can relax and enjoy meeting fellow athletes from around the world.
“It will leave a sustainable legacy in the region and it is expected to facilitate economic development and boost the tourism industry.”
Pyeongchang 2018 say the apartments will be sold in individual blocks to the public following the completion of the Games, which they claim will save them around $8.5 million (£5.5 million/€7.6 million).
Lindberg, who is also secretary general of the Association of National Olympic Committees, expressed her confidence that the organisers would ensure the Village is of the highest quality.
“The Olympic Village is the heart of the Olympic Games,” the Swede said.
“It is a special place where athletes from around the world come together to prepare and celebrate in peace and harmony under the Olympic values.
“I am confident that this Village will be a good facility for the athletes and I know that President Cho and his team will spare no effort to deliver the best conditions and services possible for those Olympians staying here in 2018.”
The Coordination Commission were taken on a tour of the rest of the venues for the Games in three years time, the third occasion the event has come to Asia, and will hold further discussions with Pyeongchang 2018 tomorrow.
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August 2015: Pyeongchang 2018 publish sustainability report ahead of Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games
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