2018 PyeongChang (Korea)
XXIIIth Winter Olympic Games from 02/09 to 02/25/2018
Previous days before opening Ceremony (05, 06, 07 and 08)
Departure from France on February 5th, flights without incident, landing in Seoul on February 06th at the end of the afternoon, I join Russian friends before spending the night there. PyeongChang 2018, here we come!
On the way to Gangneung on 07/02, main site of PyeongChang 2018, we use the new line of the high-speed train KTX. I travel with my Russian friends but also American and Canadian friends who take the same train. Jeff, an American-Norwegian friend with whom I share accommodation for the next 3 weeks, joins me on the following train. Accompanied by our landlords, we discover our place of life as well as the surrounding neighborhood.
Discovery of the Olympic Park on the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, recovery of our accreditations, purchase of tickets, switch to pin trading to greet Amanda, site manager, and visit of a maximum of park sponsors to recover pins.
Day 0 – opening Ceremony – 9 February
A beautiful day, a little cool in the stadium, but a magnificent spectacle offered by the Koreans, PyeongChang 2018 can begin. Meeting with many people in the stadium, some known among our friends collectors, and strangers with whom the discussion begins.
Day 1 – 10 February
First session of pin trading at Coca-Cola. A young, dynamic and very friendly team accompanies us. Night falls around 6 p.m., and the freezing cold accompanies it.
Day 2 – 11 February
In the company of Jeff, we go to the Olympic Village thanks to an official vehicle which stopped and offered to transport us. We do not trade because there is little passage. The athletes do not stop, there is wind and it is very cool despite the sun. We go to a nearby cafe where we find Irina trading pins. Afterwards, we will eat at the Czech house, located a few meters away. Cancellation of the evening pin trading session. We take this opportunity to tour the sponsors before eating near the station and returning by taxi to our residence.
Day 3 – 12 February
I decide to go to the Gangwon Media Center, located by the sea in a hotel. A little obstacle course to find the right bus that will take me where I want to go. After quite a bit of walking and few indications, I finally find the hotel that houses the Media Center. I got a little too late and the last shuttle left. I have to go back the other way and find a city bus that brings me back to the station.
Day 4 – 13 February
Visit of the Olympic Park and exhibitions that highlight Korean culture. After a trading session of pins, dinner in town in a typical Korean restaurant with my American roommates.
Day 5 – 14 February
On the way to Yongpyong where the women’s slalom is to take place. It was finally postponed due to the strong wind. I am looking for Club France, located very close to the Place and the Olympic stadium in Pyeongchang. Meeting with French bobsled athletes.
Day 6 – 15 February
Women’s giant slalom day, which has been postponed. I arrive a little late, however I can follow the end of the race. A North Korean skier being present, we attend the show of cheerleaders who support her. After the race, I return directly.
Day 7 – 16 February
On the way to the men super giant in Jeonsong. Meeting with the Prince of Monaco, Albert II. I end the day at the PyeongChang Club France where after meetings with different former or current athletes, I attend the medal celebration of Julia Pereira (silver medal) and Pierre Vaultier (gold medal) in snowboarding.
Day 8 – 17 February
Harvest of bibs from athletes for our Norwegian roommates. Pin trading session in the evening.
Day 9 – 18 February
Session of pin trading at the Olympic Park. At the end of the afternoon, I head towards Alpensia, the biathlon site, to witness the victory of Martin Fourcade, our national hero.
Day 10 – 19 February
Our landlady takes me to visit the market and its local specialties, including famous pancakes. Later that day, I go to the Olympic park for a pin trading session.
Day 11 – 20 February
I have a pin trading session at the end of the afternoon at the Olympic Park. It is shortened for security reasons. It is with Irina that I am going to dine in a typical Korean restaurant.
Day 12 – 21 February
Direction Phoenix snow park for a ski-cross session. No medal in the French clan today. I go to Club France then, there is no medal party today.
Day 13 – 22 February
Today I’m going to the Post Office. Everything is sold there, including food. I am doing an Olympic postmark after a long wait to go to the counter. Then I go to the Olympic park, I do some exchanges in an unofficial parallel pin exchange center, before joining Coca-Cola pin trading for my session.
Day 14 – 23 February
I have a new pin trading session at the Olympic park. When my session is over, I join the unofficial pin trading.
Day 15 – 24 February
Excursion on the side of the mountain sites, after a bus tour of the facilities, I head for the final of giant slalom snowboard parallel to Phoenix snow park. Then, I make one last visit to Club France before winning the medal place and attending the show, although no French medalist is present.
Day 16 – Closing ceremony – 25 February
It is the departure of our friend Marc today. Our landlady accompanies us to do some shopping. And it’s a last lap at the Olympic Park that I’m starting, with farewell to our friendly Coca-Cola hosts and then a small session of pin exchanges in the unofficial space. I take the train with the American friend Randy to join the closing ceremony. At the intermediate station of Jinbu, we make an endless queue to take the bus which brings us around the Olympic stadium. We enter the stadium and attend a superb ceremony.