Pyeongchang Will Be the Biggest Winter Olympics Ever
News agency Reuters upset the organizers of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Monday by publishing leaked pictures of rehearsals for the lighting of the Olympic flame.
There are strict media embargoes on the ceremonies so as not to spoil the festive spirit.
Song Seung-hwan, the creative director of the opening ceremony, said last week that spectators would be in for a surprise when they see the lighting ceremony, but now many will not.
Early Monday morning, Reuters transmitted nine photographs from a rehearsal that were promptly picked up all over the world. After vehement protests from the organizers, it deleted the pictures and told clients not to use the photos, but by then the damage was done.
The organizing committee said it is considering changing the procedure and revoked the access pass for the Reuters photographer who took the pictures, veteran German photojournalist Fabrizio Bensch, who joined Reuters in 1992.
It was not one of Bensch's most challenging assignments since he has covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He declined to answer questions.
The Pyeongchang games will be the biggest Winter Olympics in history.
Organizers on Monday said that a total of 2,925 athletes from 92 countries will take part in the games from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25, the biggest number ever.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics had 2,858 athletes from 88 nations.
The U.S. has the largest team with 242 athletes, followed by Canada with 226.
South Korea has 144 athletes competing in 15 disciplines, a national record, while North Korea will field 22 athletes, including 12 joining a unified women's ice hockey team.
Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore are taking part for the first time.