When you think about Winter Olympics, your thoughts immediately go to cold weather, right? Well, the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang will definitely live up to the chilly hype. As you mark your calendar for the Friday, Feb. 9 opening ceremony, you might wonder what it's like for the spectators watching live. Of course, you can catch all the action from the comfort of your warm couch, but the athletes and fans in South Korea will have a slightly different temperature greeting them at the opening ceremony. With forecasts of almost unbearable cold, you might ask what the conditions are like inside the Olympic Stadium. So, is the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium heated?
Unfortunately, for athletes and fans preparing to celebrate the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the answer is no, the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium is not fully heated. The brand-new $58 million dollar Olympic Stadium was built without a roof in order to save time on the building process, according to TIME. In other not-so-great news for PyeongChang Winter Olympics attendees, the stadium is not centrally heated because it is too expensive to do so.
Given that the PyeongChang weather forecast shows possible cold temperatures with a wind chill that might feel like 7 degrees Fahrenheit for the opening ceremony, the main instruction to Olympics-goers is simple: dress in warm clothes.
Anyone in PyeongChang, South Korea should definitely heed that advice. At the end of last year in November 2017, at least six concertgoers were treated for hypothermia after attending a pop concert at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, according to the Associated Press.
Extreme cold isn't likely to deter those people who already bought their tickets to experience what is, for most people, a once-in-a-lifetime event like the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. So, what steps are organizers taking to ensure that the opening ceremony goes off without a hitch?
To start, each person entering the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony will receive heating pads, a blanket, and a raincoat. OK, that sounds like it will make the cold a little more bearable. But that's not all. Even though there is no central heating (because it costs lots of dollars, ya'll), there are efforts being made to warm up the stadium as much as possible. Olympic officials plan to block winds with polycarbonate walls put up along the highest points of the stadium, and spectators can warm up by the portable gas heaters between rows. Plus, warm food and drinks will be readily available for purchase (hello, all the hot chocolate).
Of course, the spectators should still heed the advice to bundle up as they watch the opening ceremony.
What about the athletes participating in the opening ceremony? When it comes to Team USA, Ralph Lauren is bringing the heat. No, really, American athletes will wear battery-powered heated parkas made by Ralph Lauren the official Team USA outfitter. Team USA cross-country skier, Sadie Bjornsen, told the Associated Press that she's confident in the warmth their outfits will provide, but she's also banking on some good old adrenaline to keep her blood pumping. She explained:
Being there with the rest of Team USA and representing your country and feeling that energy of all the sports and all the athletes coming together that have worked so hard, I'm hoping that will keep me warm.
When it comes to the chilly temperatures during competition, Bjornsen's cross-country teammate, Jessie Diggins, told the Associated Press that she sees the cold weather as an advantage. She explained that pain doesn't affect her the same way in the cold as it does in warmer temperatures. While heat can maker her want to shut down, the cold makes Diggins feel like she could "just go on forever."
Now, everyone might not relate to Diggins' affinity for the cold, but spectators can take solace in the fact that the open-air stadium is only being used for the opening and closing ceremony. So, as long as you take care to bundle up before heading to PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, you should defrost long before you need to make is back for the closing ceremony.
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