South Korea rejects idea of sharing Olympics with Japan

December 9, 2014
(AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

(AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean governor on Tuesday rejected an International Olympic Committee proposal to move the bobsled and luge events for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang to another country to save money.

Relocating the events to other destinations wouldn’t help save costs because Pyeongchang has already begun building its venue for sliding sports, Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon said in a televised news conference.

“Sharing the competition with another city is not an option we can consider. The South Korean people would never accept it,” Choi said.

Gangwon Province governs Pyeongchang, a ski resort town near South Korea’s eastern coast.

The IOC, which is trying to cut costs for hosts, had requested that South Korean organizers move the sports to another city to prevent leaving Pyeongchang with a venue that will have little use after the games.

According to the IOC, relocating the bobsled, luge and skeleton events would save $120 million in construction costs and $3.5 million in yearly maintenance costs.

The IOC said a dozen different bobsled and luge tracks around the world could step in to host the sliding competitions for the 2018 Games if they are moved out of Pyeongchang.

One option is Nagano, Japan, which hosted the 1998 Winter Games, although moving the competitions there would raise criticism because of the difficult relations between the neighbors over their history.

South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism expects the total cost of the Pyeongchang Olympics to exceed 11 trillion won ($10 billion).