It may have been be a hot day in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympic Summer Games, but for an hour or so on the beach at Copacabana, the 2018 Pyeongchang Organizing Committee was already thinking winter. What, you’re not ready for some luge and curling after watching a week of swimming and gymnastics? Well, it’s only 550 days until the Opening Ceremony in South Korea.
Pyeongchang has established its hospitality house along two kiosks on the famous beach in Rio to showcase its mascots (a white tiger named Soohorang and a black bear named Bandabi), its forward-thinking technology and its cuisine. IOC President Thomas Bach and the heads of several international winter sports federations stopped by to mark the opening ceremony of the house, joining 2018 President Hee-beom Lee in making a few remarks at the event.
“We at Pyeongchang are honored to be the next host of the Olympic Games,” Lee said. “The eyes of the world will very soon be upon us—on our preparation, on our culture, on our technology and on our success. You can be assured we will do our best to give you a memorable Winter Olympic Games in 2018.”
“With this Korean house you have managed to present a miracle,” Bach said. “You are bringing the snow and ice from Pyeonchang to the sun and sand of Copacabana. This is a unique experience and it shows your sense of innovation for the Olympic Winter Games.”
Also featured was an action model of different winter sports featuring a ski jumper, a bobsled down a track and a hockey goalie ready for the snow and ice to start. And Bach got in on some of the technology for visitors, using a virtual reality headset to attempt a ski jump.
“The success of the Olympic Games and the promotion of the Olympic Games, in the end it’s always about people,” Bach said. “It’s very impressive to see the high technology and the model with the toys and the virtual reality, but in the end Olympic Games, and in life, it’s always down to people.”