Sunday, July 5, 2015

KGSP - Pyeongchang 2018 in 2015

This week was a bit unique. Since I got accepted into a volunteer position for the 2018 Winter Olympics, we had a meeting in Seoul this past Thursday. I've always really liked the Olympics so I thought that being involved, albeit in a small way, would be a cool experience.

The day started off really early as I had to be in Seoul by 10:20 AM. But I managed to get there on time and got my care package which turned out was pretty nice. There was a certificate in there as well as some pins and a battery pack.

I think this is the first time I got a certificate at the beginning of something instead of the end.

Afterwards we just sat there as a bunch of people did some presentations. Following that, we had lunch which turned out to be pretty good too. It was an Outback packed lunch essentially, and at that moment I realized that the organization was actually spending money on us volunteers.

So that was a good meal despite it was a packed lunch. Afterwards I met my team members and we got on a bus to Pyeongchang. Apparently. As the tours were schedule for the day after, Thursday afternoon and night were just more presentations and ice breaker games.

Our team.. banner? It uh, reminds me of something else though.

That was pretty fun regardless. Met a bunch of cool people and got a bit more of insight into Korean social culture and stuff. The day after we got up early to start the tours. The first stop we went to was to Alpensia, which is a resort in Pyeongchang.

That was where the main clusters for the Olympics would be held, including the main hall, skiing venues and sliding venues. Unfortunately as the Olympics are three years away, there wasn't much to see as a lot of the buildings are under construction. However, the ski jump tower is around.

A tower with some ramps attached to it.

That was actually pretty cool cause we got to go up to the observatory deck at the top, and I enjoy going to observatory decks in towers. Then we were allowed to walk around the base of the jump zone a bit, and that was kinda fun.

I also learned the Koreans love to take pictures of themselves. Man, I was in so many pictures that day. Not sure if it's a vanity or publicity thing or what, but way too many pictures were taken by the organizers and by my team members.

My team.

Following that we went to check out a part of the cross country course, but that was not exciting at all. Then, a quick stop for lunch before we headed off to where the coastal cluster is being built. That's where the ice sports would be held.

That's also when I realized that I signed up for this volunteer position about a year or two too early. Like, it would be nice to see the actual buildings. Or even just the foundations or something. Instead we got to see a giant construction zone.

Not pictured: a mountain of garbage on the left side.

Kinda a shame that we couldn't actually revel in the majesty of the Olympics buildings, but oh well, what can you do? Maybe I'll have another chance to see them. Our final stop was at the curling center, which is already in place.

Reason being is that it seems like curling is always just held in a random ice rink that's already existing instead of building a new one. The interior of the place was kinda old but I'm sure they'll renovate it. After learning about curling, we actually had a chance to play it a bit.

Learning how to curl. Not in a computer.

Was actually more fun than I thought. Despite it being the first time playing it, I wasn't exactly that terrible. I was definitely better than the vast majority (if not all) of the Koreans there. It probably helps that I've probably spent more time on ice than they have.

Granted I haven't spent that much time on ice. Although I'm sure growing up in Canada is a factor at play here. We are number one in curling after all. Afterwards we got back on the bus and went back to Seoul. From there I continued on towards Daegu in a long commute.

Thus ending my first two days as a student reporter for the Olympics.

Overall pretty cool time. Wish I saw more, but hey, there's the future for that.

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