The Winter Olympics are right around the corner, and relations with North Korea only seem to be getting worse. Despite the frequent weapons tests that have been conducted by the Kim regime, South Korea, the host nation, has attempted to reassure everyone that there is nothing to be afraid of heading into the 2018 Games. Unfortunately, not everyone believes that is the case. In fact, a few prominent nations have already publicly announced that if the situation with North Korea gets any worse, they will strongly consider withdrawing from the Olympics and keeping their athletes at home. Austria, Germany, and France are among the countries that are hesitant to make the trip to Pyeongchang, which could be devastating for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), considering they are all expected to finish in the top 10 in overall medal count.
Underwhelming Ticket Sales
When ticket sales opened up in February, South Korea was hoping and expecting to sell more than one million before the opening ceremonies. After the results from the first cycle of sales came in, it’s safe to say that they might want to lower expectations. Ticket sales from February to June were underwhelming to say the least. Only 52,000 of the 750,000 tickets that South Korea planned on selling to locals were sold in that time frame. On the other hand, they were able to sell nearly half of the 320,000 tickets that were expected to sell overseas. With less than five months until competition, South Korea has a lot of work to do if they expect to meet expectations, and increasing fear of a potential attack by North Korea is certainly not going to help their case.
South Korea’s Security Plan
While many organizers and IOC members have repeatedly assured people that there is no reason to be concerned just yet, winter sports fans are still fearful of the danger that North Korea could inflict on Pyeongchang. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has tried to convince North Korea to participate in the 2018 Games since being elected into office. He remains confident that they will be able to do so, and that remains their top plan for security. If the North participates, whether it’s their athletes or locations, many believe that will secure the Games, because a country would be much less likely to harm their own people.