Well, the 2014 Winter Olympics have come to a close. Now it's time to look ahead: when are the next Winter Olympics? Where will they be? How much will they cost? Will we get to enjoy encores of the many Olympics-preparation disasters that Sochi brought us?
During the 2014 Olympic closing ceremony, the mayor of Sochi handed over the Olympic flag to another mayor, bestowing Olympic power on him for the next four years. 1447 days from now, the 2018 Winter Olympics will open in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Pyeongchang, which had two failed Olympic bids before this one, won its third in 2011, beating out Annency, France, and Munich, Germany. It will be South Korea's first Winter Olympics and second Olympic Games, after the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.
Located in the Taebaek Mountains about 180 miles from Seoul, Pyeongchang is already home to a ski resort that's open year-round. Its government promises a geographically small Olympics, with mountain-based events happening near indoor-sport venues. Pyeongchang's existing ski facilities are giving some relief to organizers: they anticipate to spend around $9 billion total on the Games. $7 billion of it will be going to infrastructure, including a new high-speed railway expected to cut the travel time between Pyeongchang and Seoul to just one hour.
$9 billion may sound like a lot, but compared to Sochi's reported $51 billion price tag, it's not that bad. But Korean organizers aren't completely snubbing their noses at Sochi: the Pyeongchang organizing committee brought 154 people to Sochi to study the Games in detail and prepare for next time. "I think Sochi has been able to put together a good Olympics thanks to Russia's national backing," the Pyeongchang Olympics' chief organizer told the Yonhap News Agency on Saturday:
We have to learn from them. Russians also displayed plenty of enthusiasm for sport, and the success of the Olympics hinges upon such an atmosphere and people's participation.