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[PyeongChang 2018] Free tickets offered to volunteers to offset low turnout

Organizing committee notifies volunteers of free ticket policy for ski jumping and curling

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee is offering free admission for Olympic volunteers to some ski jumping and curling events of the Winter Games, in what appears to be a move to fill stadiums amid worries of low turnout due to the frigid weather. 

Olympic volunteers at the Olympic village in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. Yonhap
Olympic volunteers at the Olympic village in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. Yonhap

According to an internal notice that the committee sent to some 17,000 volunteers based near the venues, which was obtained by The Korea Herald, the volunteers are able to apply for “free tickets” for ski jumping and curling for Thursday’s Olympic trials at the Alpensia Sliding Center and Gangneung Curling Center, respectively.

The notice, circulating on mobile messengers, states that the free tickets are primarily for “helping to fill the stadium to capacity” for the upcoming games and “creating a positive environment for a successful event.” It added that the free ticket policy “should not go public.”

Volunteers who want to use the free tickets should wear ordinary clothes to the sports venues, instead of designated volunteer uniforms, and are recommended to remain seated until the games are over, the committee wrote in the notice.

An official from the committee confirmed the free tickets policy, adding that it “is part of efforts to encourage people to watch the games.”

“We are expecting that fewer people would show up at the stadiums than the actual number of tickets sold due to the cold weather,” the official told The Korea Herald. “It’s not yet decided whether to extend the policy to other games throughout the Olympics.”

As of Tuesday, about 826,000 tickets for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics have been sold, or around 77 percent of full capacity, which is “not bad considering previous games” according to the committee’s head Lee Hee-beom.

The Winter Games are to run from Friday through Feb. 25, followed by the Paralympics from March 8-18 across three different parts of Gangwon Province.

By Bak Se-hwan (sh@heraldcorp.com)
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