The Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games will commence on Jan. 19 in Gangwon Province in the eastern part of the Korean Peninsula, bringing together a record 1,803 young athletes from 79 countries across the world.
Held under the slogan of "Grow Together, Shin Forever," the event is the fourth edition of the Youth Winter Olympic Games and the first one ever hosted in Asia. The participants will compete in 15 disciplines across seven sports, in a total of 81 events.
The sports to be featured in the upcoming games are curling, ice hockey, ice skating, skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh and luge.
The event marks the biggest Winter Youth Olympic to date, in terms of both the number of athletes and participating countries. The previous record was held by the 2020 event in Lausanne, Switzerland, which hosted 1,788 athletes from 76 countries.
As the host country, South Korea will have the largest delegation of 102 athletes, narrowly followed by the US with 101 athletes and Germany with 90.
Gangwon Province hosted the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, and much of the venues will be used for the upcoming event. Gangneung Olympic Park in Gangneung, housing the indoor venues built for the PyeongChang Games, will host the ice events.
The Alpensia Sports Park in PyeongChang will host many of the snow games including the ski jump and biathlon, while Hoengseong will host the freestyle skiing and snowboarding and Jeongseon will host alpine skiing.
The opening ceremony slated for Jan. 19 will be shared across the two venues, as the actual ceremony in the Gangneung Oval will be broadcast at the Yongpyong Dome in PyeongChang.
Admissions for all events will be free of charge, except for the opening ceremony in Gangneung, and tickets can be booked online at https://tickets.gangwon2024.org.
The authorities have taken measures to ensure the safety of the guests at the Youth Olympic Games, including some 1,700 security guards that will be deployed around the venues throughout all events. The organizing committee said it has updated the heating systems in the arenas and prepared extra winter kits.
In a bid to prevent risks for respiratory infections, each venue will have rapid antigen test kits and face masks, along with five testing areas near the athlete village and restaurants.
The committee added that some 250 medical staff will be on standby, with a minimum of one doctor, one nurse and one emergency rescue worker always being dispatched at each venue. An emergency helicopter and hospitals in the area will also provide support in case of medical emergencies.
A number of culture and sports activities will be held at the upcoming event, including the festival program "Play Winter Zone," which will be held throughout the venues. This includes the DJ party on ice at the Gangneung Ice Hockey Center, and lessons by national short-track star Choi Min-jeong and former national figure skater Park So-young slated for the same venue.
Kim Yuna and Yoon Sung-bin, among the most prominent winter sports stars in the country, are also set to hold a public talk during the games.