International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach attends a press conference held at Main Press Centre of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, South Korea, Feb. 7, 2018. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said Wednesday that PyeongChang is ready and has all the makings of an outstanding Winter Olympics Games.
"The stage is set. All the competition and non-competition venues are ready...I think these games will really offer the best possible conditions for the best winter sport athletes of the world," Bach told a press conference Wednesday evening.
He also hailed the facilities at the Olympic village, the efficiency of the volunteers, as well as the picking up ticket sales, as 78 percent of the tickets have been sold now.
Bach especially highlighted efforts of the organizers made amid the political tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the message of peace that the Olympics has sent to the world.
The delegations of the South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will march together at the opening ceremony, and their athletes will jointly play ice hockey. These are the "historical moments that the Games can offer to the Olympic movement and to the world," said Bach.
"When you put all these things together, PyeongChang has all the makings of being really outstanding and exciting Olympic Winter Games...I can not really wait for the moment when the Olympic flame finally is lit in the stadium," he said.
Meanwhile, the IOC announced on Tuesday an ambitious set of 118 reforms, in the name of "The New Norm," which aims to improve efficiencies without compromising the Olympic experience.
The plan invites opportunities to reduce venue sizes, rethink transport options, optimize existing infrastructure and reuse the field of play for various sports.
Bach said that the "new norm" is already affecting the preparations of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, as the IOC has discussed with the organizing committee about the location and scale of the venues to reduce costs.
He said that although organizers of Beijing 2022 have done an overwhelming job and achieved a marketing revenue doubling the figure planned in the candidature procedure, they will not just spend the money but to focus on reforms of the "new norm."
These games "can already set a kind of benchmark then for application of this new norm," he said.