PyeongChang, February 1 – The two Olympic Villages were officially opened today with a special ceremony being held simultaneously in both PyeongChang and Gangneung to mark the occasion.
The PyeongChang Olympic Village (PVL) will house more than 3,500 athletes and officials in the mountain cluster, while the Gangneung Olympic Village (GVL) will be the residence of more than 2,400 athletes and officials in the coastal cluster.
Senior members of the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee were joined at both events by VIPs from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Gangwon Province, Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KOC), sponsors and other local dignitaries. POCOG President LEE Hee-beom gave the official welcome address at the PyeongChang Village.
LEE Hee-beom said, “We are delighted to welcome everyone here today for the official opening of the PyeongChang Olympic Village. Construction began on both residences back in 2015 and to see our first athletes now making themselves at home here is a very proud moment for us all. We hope that all athletes and officials living here, and in Gangneung, will feel comfortable and well cared for, and make many happy memories along the way.”
The hoisting of the flags, including the Olympic flag was performed by the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) before the Village Mayors declared it officially open.
The Mayor of the PyeongChang Olympic Village is Olympian RYU Seung-min. RYU took the gold medal in table tennis at the 2004 Athens Games and went on to represent Korea at two further Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). He is currently an IOC member and an Athletes’ Commission Member for KOC.
Mayor of the Gangneung Olympic Village is an honour that has been given to KIM Ki-hoon. KIM was the first Korean to win a gold medal at an Olympic Winter Games in Albertville 1992 for Short-track Speed Skating. He was victorious again two years later in Lillehammer and went onto coach the Republic of Korea National Team for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
The first athletes arrived at the Villages last Thursday and are settling in well to their home from home for the next few weeks. The official Team Welcome Ceremonies will take place from February 5th-8th at the Team Welcome Ceremony Stage, along with a daily schedule of cultural performance and entertainment for everyone to enjoy.
The Villages consist of three sections – Plaza Area, Residence Area and an Operating Area. A wide range of services and facilities can be found here ranging from a hair salon, post office, bank and convenience store, to a fitness centre, religion centre and the main dining hall. A front desk will operate 24/7 at each apartment block to assist residents as needed.
The Main Dining Hall will also operate around the clock and offering 450 food items on the buffet-style menu catering to a wide range of dietary and religious preferences. Both Villages have already been sold in full to local residents who will take occupancy towards the end of the year.