IOC downplays concern on Pyeongchang preparations

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — An International Olympic Committee inspection team has downplayed worries about the pace of preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Gunilla Lindberg, who heads the IOC’s coordination commission for the Pyeongchang Games, said Thursday that organizers have made significant progress in the construction of the venues and arranging the test events that begin next year. She added that organizers must show more urgency in advancing operational planning and refining budgets.

Organizers have been facing pressure from local groups to spread the games outside of Pyeongchang to reduce costs, despite the IOC insisting that the current venue plan is final.

Organizers are also having difficulty attracking sponsors, with only five companies having joined the domestic sponsorship program.