Construction progress at non-competition venues for Pyeongchang 2018 will be closely monitored by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to tight deadlines, Coordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg revealed here today.
She also warned organisers against complacency following a recent period of success.
Lindberg, the secretary general of the Association of National Olympic Committees, urged Pyeongchang 2018 to establish distinct legacy plans for the facilities which will be used during the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in two years’ time.
It follows the news that discussions have taken place on the possibility of keeping the Gangneung Oval intact following the conclusion of the Games.
It was due to be demolished after the event in the South Korean county had finished but it may yet become a permanent sporting facility for the country.
Lindberg flagged the International Broadcasting Centre, located close to the main cluster at Alpensia, as a particular non-competition site where progress will need to be watched intently as deadlines loom.
The Swede, however, praised the work of Pyeongchang 2018 in the construction of competition venues in Gangneung, which the Coordination Commission toured yesterday.
She claims they are “proceeding on time and according to deadlines”.
The Coordination Commission chair added that both the Organising Committee and local stakeholders, including Gangwon Province, should be “commended” for their construction work to date.
“We are facing some tight deadlines for some non-competition venues, particularly the International Broadcasting Centre,” Lindberg said.
“It is also important to develop clear legacy plans for venue use after the Games.
“The success of Pyeongchang 2018 will not be measured solely about what happens during the 16 days of competition.
“It will depend, for the most part, on the long-term legacy that the Games will provide for the region and for South Korea.”
Pyeongchang 2018 has emerged from a busy period of test events as International Ski Federation Ski and Snowboard World Cups were held last month at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre and Bokwang Snow Park.
The feedback from the competitions was largely positive from both competitors and technical officials, with reigning Olympic super-G champion Kjetil Jansrud of Norway describing the course as “fantastic”.
Lindberg believes the recent test events “sent a strong signal to the Olympic Movement that Pyeongchang 2018 is ready to deliver a successful Games” but stressed organisers cannot rest on their laurels ahead of another critical delivery phase.
“This is the period where the amount of work will accelerate,” she said.
“The many decisions you make at this point have a direct impact on a successful delivery of the Games.
“We join you in celebrating these successes, but we cannot be complacent at this stage of the preparations and there is still a lot of work to do and as we consider the tasks ahead, we should also consider the lessons learned thus far.
"I have full confidence the team at Pyeongchang 2018 can meet the challenges ahead – the work you have done to date has established a foundation for success and now it is time to carry that work further."
Their preparations hit a slight hitch recently, however, when a full round of testing at the Alpensia Sliding Centre could not be completed due to a lack of ice on the upper part of the course.
Delegations from the International Luge Federation and the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation travelled to South Korea to test the venue, with the likes of three-time Olympic luge champion Felix Loch of Germany in attendance.
Pyeongchang 2018 President Cho Yang-ho, widely credited for the turnaround in fortunes the Organising Committee has enjoyed after the IOC had initially expressed serious concerns about the state of their preparations, insisted the key test period will take place in October as planned.
"We are working closely with relevant stakeholders to resolve our challenges," he said.
“We are committed to meeting the construction deadlines of these projects.
“There are still some outstanding issues and we may experience more bumps on the road to 2018 but I am more confident than ever that we can produce a wonderful Games.”