Park: Olympic Host Nations Should Learn from the Past to Improve Event Management

Emma Tanner

The big run of PyeongChang has ended as of Feb 25. The world was enthusiastic over the Winter Olympics, and South Korea was excited to hold the worldwide event. A total of 2,900 athletes from 92 countries participated. International press commented that this Winter Olympics in PyeongChang was a success in records and performance. During the event, South Korea has proved to be an accommodating nation and has the potential to host global events. Even though the result is being evaluated with positive opinions, there were a number of worries before the Olympics and a few adjustments behind the scenes that could have made the international event better.

The number one issue that arose beforehand was volunteer workers. During the Winter Olympics, there were about 24,000 volunteers from around the country. However, the Korean Sport & Olympic committee was not able to assign all the volunteers to appropriate positions. A number of volunteers were students who gave up their university studies for the valuable experience of volunteering at the Olympics. Since then they have lost their time and heart to participate in a global experience. It should also be recognized that accommodation was poor. They had limited access to hot water and heat, which was necessary in the cold weather. Also, because the housing was far away from most of the stadiums, the committee managed shuttle buses. However, the interval was approximately an hour, and volunteers had to shiver in the severe weather. Poor welfare has led to a low quality of volunteers and about 2,400 volunteers left during the first three days of the Olympics.

Preparation for the event was also insufficient. South Korea was elected to hold the 2018 Winter Olympics in 2011. The government and the Olympic committee had seven years to prepare for and manage the event. However, the quality of the promotion video was poor compared to the money that was spent. The committee released a new video after facing criticism, which seemed to only raise the stress of the public. Many comments mentioned that the video was not really related to the Olympics. An inadequate number of stadiums took part in the disappointing preparation as well. PyeongChang had fewer ice rinks compared to other countries that held the Winter Olympics. The ice rink that was used for some events was turned into and used as a figure skating rink with only a few adjustments. Soldiers and servicemen from nearby PyeongChang were mobilized to make the adjustments. A lot of criticism has been made regarding this issue because the government and the committee tried to unnecessarily lower the budget, which resulted in somewhat of a global humiliation.

Overall it seems the 2018 Winter Olympics was a success. However, more could have been done to make the global event better. Speaking for South Korea, we should learn more from other countries that have held similar events in the past and work to manage a better system if we have another chance.

Article by: Chan Kyu Park



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