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【Winter Sports】Hello PyeongChang Test Events: One Year Before the Paralympic Games

The Hello PyeongChang Test Events took place in Pyeongchang, Korea, one year ahead of the real Games. The world watches whether preparations for the Paralympic Games are moving forward, among various challenges such as lack of snow and insufficiently maintained transportation networks. Here is a photo report of Pyeongchang today.

The Test Events were held in the same venues as the real Games

The PyeongChang Paralympic Games to be held next year from March 9 to 18 will host the six sports of Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross Country Skiing, Para Ice Hockey (Ice Sledge Hockey), Snowboarding and Wheelchair Curling.

The Test Events of each sport took place this year March 4–18, at the same venues as the real Games next year. (The Para Ice Hockey Test Events will start on April 11.) Although the venues were not exactly full of spectators, people of all ages came to watch. Many locals watched the athletes with great interest.

The weather was clear and temperatures were high throughout the event, causing some of the courses including the cross-country course to suffer from melted snow. During the Alpine Skiing events the ski lift stopped working. Considering that such problems may occur during the real Games, however, it was a valuable experience for the attending athletes.

High temperatures caused the snow to melt and create slush on some of the courses.

The temperature rose to 12 degrees Celsius on this day in Pyeongchang. This Swedish athlete wore only his bib.

Most of the areas outside the Alpine Skiing courses had no snow at all.

Gangneung Station of the Korea Train Express, which is scheduled to open by the Olympic Games, is still in the structural framing phase.

Soohorang (left) and Bandabi (right), the official mascots for the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Games, welcome visitors at Incheon International Airport. The Bandabi, modeled after the Asian Black Bear, is the Paralympic mascot.

The Olympic Park and Athletes Village are still under construction

The Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding events will be held at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. There was not much snow on the road from the Media Hotel to the venue.

The Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon events will be held at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, where, again, there was not much snow.

The Gangneung Curling Centre will be the venue for Wheelchair Curling events.

The Gangneung Hockey Centre is the venue for the popular Para Ice Hockey events.

The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium.

The Athletes Village is located approximately two kilometers from the Alpensia Biathlon Centre.%;">

Constructions for the Olympic Park, where spectators from various countries can mingle and interact, have not yet started.

Accessibility and volunteer workers at the venues

Wheelchair parking spaces at the Para Ice Hockey venue

A wide slope leads up to the entrance.

The curling venue with its wheelchair slope

Many spectators were in wheelchairs.

Volunteer staff helped the athletes get around.

Here they are loading luggage into athletes' cars as they travel to and from venues.

text&photos by X-1

See the results of Japanese athletes.