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Pyeongchang says it will be ready for 2018 Winter Olympics

Olympic venue
Power shovels work Wednesday at the site of the speed skating venue for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Gangneung, South Korea.
(Associated Press)

Organizers for the 2018 Winter Olympics have broken ground on a $125-million speed-skating rink and say they are on track to complete all six of their new venues by early 2017.

In addition to the facilities under construction, South Korea will make use of four existing and three refurbished sites.

“All our competition venue preparations are in full swing and I am confident that there is good momentum in our progress,” Cho Yang-ho, president of the organizing committee, said on Wednesday.

The announcement from Pyeongchang comes a day after other significant developments on the Olympic scene.

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Stockholm officials, who withdrew their bid for the 2022 Winter Games earlier this year, said Tuesday they would jump back in the race if given a chance.

Only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, remain in the running for 2022 after Oslo recently pulled out. Recent proposals that would make the bidding process less formal -- and potentially less expensive -- have impressed the Swedes.

Still, an International Olympic Committee official said it is unlikely that bidding will be re-opened.

At the troubled 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, organizers insisted -- once again -- that they will be ready in time. Officials also said they would welcome Oscar Pistorius to compete if he is declared eligible.

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The double-amputee sprinter was recently sentenced to five years in jail for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He could be released in 10 months.

Paralympic and South African officials have said that he will not be eligible for the full duration of his sentence. Brazilian officials offered a different take.

“It’s not for us to judge him personally,” Mario Andrada, communications director for Rio 2016, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

 


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