Organizers drop plans to hold 2018 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies outside Pyeongchang

Associated Press

Pyeongchang organizers have scrapped plans to stage the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympic outside of the host city.

Lee Jong-deok, South Korea's minister for culture, sports and tourism, provincial mayor Choi Moon-soon and 2018 Olympic organizing committee president Cho Yang-ho met this week to decide whether or not to renovate an existing sports stadium in nearby Gangneung to stage the ceremonies or build a new facility in Pyeongchang.

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The culture ministry later released a statement saying "the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies ... will be built in Pyeongchang. After the games, the relevant parties will discuss how to make use of the facility."

The new Pyeongchang venue will have a capacity of 40,000.

South Korea President Park Geun-hye met with senior International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach in Seoul last month and agreed to closer cooperation between the federal government, the IOC and the local organizing committee.

The meeting was held just weeks after South Korean businessman Cho Yang-ho was brought in to take over the organizing committee as the replacement for Kim Jin-sun, who resigned suddenly.

Kim's departure sparked media speculation that he may have been fired amid concerns about construction delays and domestic sponsorship problems.