Fears Pyeongchang Winter Olympics may be too cold

The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held. (AAP)

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics organisers may have yet another problem with revelations temperatures at the opening ceremony could feel as low as minus 14.

South Korea's Winter Olympics organisers have worries other than a ban on Russia competing, poor ticket sales and tensions over North Korea. They fear it may be too cold.

The Pyeongchang Games in February may feel like the coldest Olympics in at least three decades because the main stadium lacks a roof, leaving an estimated 35,000 spectators, including world leaders, exposed to extreme cold for the opening ceremony.

The organising committee's concerns are contained in an internal document which expects biting winds to make conditions inside the open-air stadium at the start of the Games seem like minus 14 degrees Celsius.

That "feels-like" temperature is lower than the minus 11 degrees recorded at the 1994 Games in Norway, whose stadium also lacked a roof and is so far the coldest Olympics for which such data is available.

South Korea, which built Pyeongchang's $58 million stadium without a roof to save time and money, plans a range of measures at opening and closing ceremonies to prevent people suffering hypothermia - from distributing hot packs and blankets to speeding up security checks.

Organisers also plan to use audience participation during pre-ceremony entertainment to help keep spectators warm.

Russia banned from Pyeongchang Games: IOC
Russia banned from Pyeongchang Games: IOC

After the news last month that six people had reported hypothermia during a pop concert at the stadium, organisers are also considering installing more large windshields around the stadium, a sports ministry official said.

"These are stopgap measures," said Shim Ki-joon, a ruling-party lawmaker, who sits on a parliamentary special committee set up to support the Games.

"This is a very serious issue. This is creating a headache to not only the organisers but the presidential office, which sent officials to the venue to figure out ways to fight the cold."

A presidential spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

President Moon Jae-in has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Games, among other VIPs. US President Donald Trump has committed to sending a "high-level" delegation, the White House has said.

Source AAP - SBS

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