Pyeongchang 2018 announced a $55 million surplus today ©Pyeongchang 2018

Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee Hee-beom has claimed they achieved a surplus of $55 million (£42.1 million/€48 million) from this year’s Winter Olympics.

Organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had promised earlier this year that a surplus would be achieved.

It represents a startling turnaround for Pyeongchang 2018, facing a $300 million (£229 million/€261 million) deficit when Lee took over from predecessor Cho Yang-ho in 2016.

The IOC claim that South Korean organisers achieved a total revenue of $2.245 billion (£1.72 billion/€1.95 billion) from the Games, while having an expenditure of $2.190 billion (£1.67 billion/€1.91 billion).

This is claimed to have left organisers with the surplus.

Cost cutting or “revenue increasing” measures as a result of their Agenda 2020 reforms were behind the surplus, the IOC claimed.

This included 30,000 accredited seats being given back to organisers for public sale, no secondary mountain International Broadcast Centre (IBC), a 30 per cent smaller IBC, and moving the Main Press Centre to an existing structure.

"We achieved this thanks to a number of things," Christophe Dubi, IOC executive director for the Olympic Games, said.

"First, credit to the Organising Committee for raising more revenue than was expected, they worked extremely well on this.

"We then all collaborated.

"Agenda 2020 allowed us to review many of the baseline assumptions and make the right choice.

"It ranges from changing the main press centre to reducing the number of cars, releasing more accredited seating to Pyeongchang 2018 to allow them to generate more revenues and reducing the capacity in mountain venues to reduce the complexity of logistics.

"On one hand it is raising more revenue, while the other it is about decisions that may not affect the participants but facilitating the life of the Organising Committee."

The IOC pledged the give their contribution of the surplus to Korean sport ©Pyeongchang 2018
The IOC pledged the give their contribution of the surplus to Korean sport ©Pyeongchang 2018

Pyeongchang 2018 highlighted the role of the South Korean Government in helping them to achieve the surplus.

Lee claimed that they had raised 20 per cent more than their initial revenue target due to having engaged more sponsors and donors.

"We are happy that Pyeongchang 2018 was able to achieve a $55 million (£42.1 million/€48 million) surplus, which far exceeds our target budget," Lee said.

"It is a great honour to be a part of an Olympic Winter Games that will not only be remembered as an economic success, but also a historical sporting event that brought the two Koreas together and contributed to world peace."

Lee claimed the surplus would be used in a foundation which will be established by Pyeongchang 2018, with sport development among the legacy activities expected to benefit.

IOC President Thomas Bach promised the organisation’s share of the surplus would be returned to South Korea to support sport in the country.

Local reports last month claimed that Gangwon Province had been left with "massive debts" due to Pyeongchang 2018.

It was claimed "conflict with locals and unpaid wages" were major issues and also highlighted the risk of unused venues becoming white elephants.

The Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Oval currently have no finalised legacy plan ©Getty Images
The Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Oval currently have no finalised legacy plan ©Getty Images

So far, no legacy plans have been finalised at the Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Oval where speed skating took place, as well as the Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

It was reported that Gangwon would need to pay $18 million (£14 million)/€16 million) to keep sporting facilities open until 2022.

Speaking at the IOC Session here today, Lee claimed all 12 competition venues would in principle be used for sporting purposes.

He claimed that Gangwon Province and the South Korean Government are currently in discussions over the venues where legacy plans were not yet finalised

The talks are centred around ratio of operation and management cost, it is claimed.

Lee also called for International Federations to examine the potential use of Pyeongchang’s facilities for training venues for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.