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2018 Olympic City Already Has Half Its Venues Built

Wednesday, 6 Jul 2011 | 2:24 PM ET
PyeongChang 2018
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PyeongChang 2018


Earlier today, the International Olympic Committee awarded PyeongChang, South Korea with the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

PyeongChang was the prohibitive favorite, not only because it has been through this bidding rodeo unsuccessfully twice before (2010 & 2014 games), but because they took the unique step of moving ahead with venues well before they were even declared winners.

At a time where the world economy isn't exactly stable, its commitment to the Olympic Games is astounding.

The venues that are already built combined with those being built is nothing that its rivals Annecy, France and Munich, Germany, could have offered the IOC, which has seen its share of last minute venue preparations in recent games.

Get this: PyeongChang has already completed building seven of the 13 required competition venues, including the ski jumping slopes. Many Olympic venues have seen their seats empty for years after the games, but before? Is almost seven years early a good bet for South Korea?

Well, we know it is for the IOC, whose members also had to be comforted by the fact that an ambitious high speed rail from the capital city of Seoul, spanning 110 miles to the east, to PyeongChang was already underway. Completion date? A year before the games.

But it's still a slippery slope for the South Koreans, many of whom were cheering loudly upon hearing the selection today. Sure the country's currency, the Won, came close to hitting a 34-month high against the dollar today, but everything is relative, as the inflation battle that confronts South Koreans and residents of many other Asian nations negates much of the gains.

The PR spin now is that the games will add $19.8 billion to the South Korean economy and the country will earn an additional $41.2 billion in the 10 years after the games, thanks to increased tourism.

Some economists say that the economic impact and the future earnings of Olympic cities are sometimes grossly overestimated. The thought is Olympic visitors displace other visitors and those that come don't pass on word of mouth recommendations because they don't come to see the country, they come to see the events.

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