Athletes Celebrate Successful End of Pyeongchang Olympics
The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang that ended Sunday has mostly received positive feedback and has been free of the disasters that plagued the last winter games in Sochi.
The organizing committee of the Olympics had a budget of W2.8 trillion except some W14.2 trillion spent on infrastructure such as new KTX stations, expressways and stadiums (US$1=W1,074).
The committee initially forecast that it would end up with a loss of some W300 billion but actually found itself in surplus thanks to extra funding from the International Olympic Committee and Olympic sponsors," the committee said. "Lucrative ticket sales and licensed Olympic merchandise greatly contributed to making up the deficit."
Some 1,500 licensed items flew off the shelves, and over 20,000 visitors visited the shops selling Olympic goods in Pyeongchang and Gangneung at weekends and during the Lunar New Year break, netting them W30 billion in sales in the 10 days since the opening ceremony.
Ticket sales also went above the 1.07 million target to nearly 1.08 million, making over W150 billion. A total of 1.4 million people visited 12 Olympic venues and nearby areas during the Olympics. The number of daily visitors peaked at 146,000 on Feb. 17 during the Lunar New Year break.
The combined efforts of around 14,000 volunteers were widely praised, though an outbreak of norovirus and poor working conditions for assistant staff and drivers cast a small pall.
Athletes, coaches and other officials who participated in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang gathered Monday to mark the official end of the sports festival at an event in Gangneung, Gangwon Province.
Some 184 of them including the Olympic medalists attended the event, where they took pictures together and had lunch.
Notably, speed skater Lee Seung-hoon, who holds the record for most Olympic medals in his disciplines among Asian athletes, was mobbed by fans seeking autographs and asking to take pictures with him.
Women curlers, who stole the spotlight thanks to their winning streak during the Olympics, said they didn't realize how popular they were, as they turned off all their smartphones until the Olympics were over and left them with their coaches to fully focus on the matches.
They said they were surprised after belatedly finding their phones swamped with tons of encouraging texts.
Athletes pose for a group photo at an event in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Monday. /Yonhap