Sports

South Korea Awarded 2018 Olympic Winter Games

Pyeongchang-2018-Olympics.jpg

Announcement that Pyeongchang has been chosen to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

By Jason Strother

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There were a lot of tense people sitting in Seoul plaza in the South Korean capital on Wednesday night, eyes fixed on a big-screen television, waiting for the decision from the International Olympic Committee assembled in Durban, South Africa.

But the anticipation turned to celebration when IOC president Jacques Rogge named Pyeongchang as the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

After two consecutive unsuccessful bids, Pyeongchang finally got its chance to host the games.

Ahn Kyoung An, who was in Seoul plaza, said she's thrilled South Korea won this time.

"We are also very stunned," she said, "because we tried a lot of times."

Pyeongchang is the center for winter sports in South Korea, but many here hope that getting the Olympics could turn it into an international destination.

That sounds a little ambitious, according to Jason Lee, a sportscaster with Korea's Arirang TV, but he said Pyeongchang resorts are already luring some foreign skiers.

"They're bringing people from countries that don't have snow, from Southeast Asia, from Africa," Lee said. "They've got good intentions in trying to make Pyeongchang an area that is just not central to Korea."

Lee added that the hard part now is making Pyeongchang's facilities meet international expectations. Major transportation projects are planned to make the three-hour trip from Seoul a little less of a trek.

"I think they defiantly do have a long way to go, but the fact that they have the support of the Olympic committee, the nation is fully behind it," Lee said.

With today's decision, South Korea becomes the second Asian nation, after to Japan, to get the Winter Games.