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Visitors to Incheon International Airport take a souvenir photo alongside the two Winter Olympics mascots. © Yonhap News Agency
Countdown fever set to grip PyeongChang 2018

09 Jan 2017
Seoul, Korea, January 9, 2017: With just 396 days left before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea is moving to kick-start related festivities that will generate interest in the games, reports the Yonhap News Agency. Organisers said that while the one-year countdown, or G-1 year, falls on February 9, there is a need to intensify preparations for the first Olympic Games Korea will host in 30 years.

The government and the host city PyeongChang are planning a massive campaign to celebrate the one-year countdown, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Some 60 promotional and cultural events marking the games are scheduled to be held throughout downtown Seoul and in parts of Gangwon Province, including PyeongChang, Gangneung and Jeongseon, around February 9.

The PyeongChang Organising Committee is preparing for a large one-year countdown event on the official G-1 date at the Gangneung Hockey Center. The official Olympic torch and uniform will also be revealed then. On February 8, an unveiling ceremony for a countdown clock will be held at the Seoul City Hall plaza. A classical concert marking the beginning of the countdown is scheduled at the Seoul Arts Center.

Several winter-themed and PyeongChang-based events, such as the PyeongChang Winter Festival and the PyeongChang Winter Music Festival, are scheduled to open around February 9. The government says it is also ratcheting up the promotion of the two official mascots: Soohorang, a white tiger, and Bandabi, an Asiatic black bear.

Organisers are also in the final process of picking out some 22,400 volunteers to help out with translation, operational and media support. "We see the upcoming G-1 mark as an indispensable moment to spread the Olympics mood," a culture ministry official said.
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