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The Olympics: The Road to South Korea

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Here they come, once again–the world has begun to prepare for the Olympics. The Winter games will commence on February 9th in South Korea, and end on the 25th. The Olympic events will primarily be held in the skiing town of PyeongChang (not to be confused with the North Korean capital Pyongyang), while two other cities will be hosting some other events. For South Korea, this will be the second time the games will be held in the country, the first being in 1988.

While the South Koreans are seemingly excited to host the games, many citizens are upset because of the cost. The Gangwon province, which will be hosting the games, has accumulated a debt of over $1.5 billion US dollars. The central government has been aiding the providence with money to build some structures but the Gangwon province says that the $60 million given is not enough. Many locals and officials are worried about what will happen when the games are over and the small cities are left with twelve new competition venues and massive debts.

This story does seems familiar, in fact many Olympics have been deemed financial failures because the cities exceeded their budgets. Oxford University studied the budgets for Olympic cities between 1962 and 2012 and found that on average hosts go 179% over budget during the preparation phase. The estimated cost of the Olympics in PyeongChang is over $10 billion, which is a far cry from the cost of first modern Olympic games, a mere $74,000, and yet still put Athens in debt.

With over 2,800 athletes gearing up to compete in 102 medalling events, there is sure to be no shortage of celebration–except maybe from US Hockey fans. An official announcement from the NHL told the press that no members from the league would be taking the two week break from the middle of the season to represent team USA. The United states will still have a team, it will just be of non-NHL players. Some familiar names who will be returning for the USA include Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Lindsey Vonn, and Gracie Gold. There are many more athletes and many sports to watch, so get out you red white and blue. For the next several months, we will all need to wish the best of luck to our athletes and cross our fingers for PyeongChang in its final stages of preparation!

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