How Athletes and Countries Prepare for the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics are in a few weeks and the preparations are well underway for opening night. PyeongChang in South Korea is the host of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games scheduled for February 9 through 25. Here’s how countries and athletes from around the world prepare for the festivities and challenges.

Countries

In order to win the bid, city leaders have to invest millions of dollars in the evaluation, preparation, and submit a detailed bid that they send to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the cost of planning, hiring consultants, organizing events, and traveling costs between $50 million and $100 million.

Once a city’s bid is accepted and it is chosen to host the Olympic Games, it has a decade or so to get ready. This may sound like a lot, but with all the preparation, building, constructing and planning that is necessary, it’s never enough time! And it isn’t cheap. In preparation of hosting hundreds of thousands of tourists, not to mention the athletes, the Olympic Games come with a lot of stress, financial strain and prep work. First, the hosting city needs to make plans for a large area where the Olympic Village will be located – a venue that has to be large enough to handle the massive crowds that will be coursing through the city streets for two weeks.

They must also build or secure a venue large enough to host both opening and closing ceremonies, as well as highly-specialized sporting facilities for anything from figure skating competitions to ski courses.

Cities must also have adequate accommodations to house the many visitors and athletes that will descend on the city, which means they have to invest even more in general infrastructure, particularly with housing and transportation. In general, the IOC requires that a minimum of 40,000 hotel rooms be available. Then, roads, train lines, and airports must be upgraded or built in order to transport those people around to all the tourist spots and venues. The price tag for these infrastructure costs is between $5 billion and $50 billion.

Athletes

If history is any indication, you can expect more than 10,000 athletes to stay in Olympic Village – at least that’s how many attended the 2016 Rio Games. They arrived a week or two before the opening ceremony, settled into their quarters and trained in their designated facilities.
Olympic Villages generally cater to the convenience of the athlete, offering all the amenities of home, such as laundromat, florist, post office, bank, beauty salon and dining hall. They must abide by noise restrictions and curfews but do have some down time before the rigor of the Games begins.
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