Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium Nears Completion in S. Korea

(Published Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017)

Construction has been nearly completed on a controversial stadium that will host the opening and closing ceremonies for next year's Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

The Pyeongchang organizing committee said Friday the pentagonal, 35,000-seat stadium would be finished on Saturday. It will be torn down after the Games, with the site to be used for a new museum and leisure facilities.

South Korea had considered using existing stadiums in other cities for the opening and closing ceremonies to reduce costs. The country went on to build the temporary structure after Pyeongchang residents angrily opposed moving the ceremonies out of town.

There are also worries that the outdoor stadium, built in a mountainous area notorious for strong winds, would leave spectators suffering from freezing weather during the ceremonies.

There's concern in South Korea over the huge cost of hosting the Games and maintaining facilities that might go unused once the party leaves town. The Olympics will cost about 14 trillion won ($12.4 billion) for South Korea, larger than the 8 to 9 trillion won ($7 to 8 billion) Seoul projected as the overall cost when Pyeongchang won the bid in 2011.

The opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Games will be held on Feb. 9 and the closing ceremony on Feb. 25.

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