2018 Winter Olympics by the Numbers
South Korea is spending big in hopes of hosting a spectacular Winter Olympics.
The 2018 Olympics — the 23rd installment of the Winter Games — begins Feb. 9 and runs through the 25th.
South Korea is the host country, and this marks its 2nd Olympics, having hosted the Summer Games in 1988 in Seoul.
And this will be the first of 3 consecutive Olympics being held in Asia, with Tokyo hosting the 2020 Summer Games and Beijing the 2022 Winter Games.
We've compiled here all the numbers you need to know for PyeongChang 2018.
Finland Olympic Team and Friend
The Competitive Field
There will be 93 teams competing. That’s 92 countries and the 1 team from Russia, which due to a doping scandal cannot compete under their country’s flag but instead the International Olympic Committee flag.
6 nations will be making their Winter Games debut: Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Singapore.
Some 3,000 athletes will compete in 102 events in seven different sports (15 disciplines). Here’s the breakdown:
- Alpine skiing, 11 medal events;
- Biathlon, 11 events;
- Bobsleigh, 3 events;
- Cross-country skiing, 12 events;
- Curling, 3 events;
- Figure skating, 5 events;
- Freestyle skiing, 10 events;
- Ice hockey, 2 events;
- Luge, 4 events;
- Nordic combined, 3 events;
- Short track speed skating, 8 events;
- Skeleton, 2 events;
- Ski jumping, 4 events,
- Snowboarding, 10 events;
- Speed skating, 14 events
Laughs at Short Track Speed Skating
Introducing PyeongChang 2018
When South Korea won the bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics, the government estimated that it would cost the Asian nation about $7 billion to build the necessary infrastructure to host the event. That was nearly 7 years ago, and things have changed.
PyeongChang is a landlocked western province of South Korea that’s home to only about 40,000 people.
The government actually had to spend nearly twice as much as it projected — $12.9 billion to be exact — on infrastructure needs to build its winter sports wonderland.
South Korea Olympic Team Welcome
Measuring Economic Impact
South Korea anticipates a boost to its economy over the next 10 years to the tune of $28.2 billion.
As for the Games themselves, the country expects 390,000 foreigners and 2.2 million Koreans to visit PyeongChang.
Tourism is the key to future economic drivers, as seen with Russia’s transformation of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics from a summer resort area to a year-round vacation destination.
The events are also said to be creating 230,000 new jobs around South Korea.
Warming up Ice for Mixed Doubles Curling
Figuring the Broadcasting Rights
Some of the biggest dollar figures associated with the Games are the television contracts.
NBCUniversal purchased exclusive rights to air this Olympics and all those through 2032 for $12 billion. For the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil, the company earned $250 million off $1.2 billion in ad sales. That was a record profit.
In Europe, broadcaster Eurosport paid $1.37 billion for exclusive airing rights for all Olympics through 2024. It will broadcast to 50 countries and territories in Europe, including Russia.
And although financial details were never disclosed, Japanese broadcaster Dentsu won the rights the broadcast the next 3 Olympics, which are all taking place in Asian countries, to 22 Asian nations.
Canada Olympic Team Pose for a Selfie
Covering the Ticket Costs
PyeongChang 2018 ticket prices range from 20,000 to 900,000 Korean won, or $17 to $776 US dollars.
Tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies are more expensive, ranging from $190 to $1,293.
Despite the wide range of prices, some 50 percent of tickets are expected to cost less than $70 so as to encourage attendance in a country that does not have a strong culture of winter sports.
South Korea is prepared to operate 1,200 buses, 770 vans, and 3,189 fleet vehicles for ferrying around visitors, staff, and athletes.
The fuel is estimated $5 million.
North Korean Cheer Squads Arrive
Giving Medal Incentives
Olympic committees of some participating countries offer payouts to athletes who medal, and the range is broad, depending somewhat on the odds.
US athletes will receive $37,500 for each gold, $22,500 for each silver, and $15,000 for each bronze.
Canadian athletes will receive $20,000 for a gold, $15,000 for each silver and $10,000 for a bronze.
In contrast, a Malaysian gold medal winner will be awarded $600,000.
For perspective’s sake, 2018 will be the first Winter Olympics to feature an athlete from Malaysia — in this case two, an alpine skier and a figure skater — so the chances of winning gold are slim. The last Malaysian gold winner was in 1956.
Of the 15,000 or so total athletes who will compete, fewer than 1,000 will win any kind of medal.
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The Money Behind Stars and Sponsorships
There is at least one surefire way to get rich from the Olympics: be an incredible athlete who wins multiple golds, has an infectious personality, and looks damn good to boot. Easy, right?
The U.S. has only had a few over the years. In 2008, swimmer Michael Phelps netted a cool $1 million from Speedo — although he had to win 8 gold medals to do so (he also donated the money to charity).
And in 2012, another champion swimmer, Ryan Lochte, won several medals and a few six-figure bonuses from sponsors like Gatorade and Speedo.
Getting up to Speed
How Much Is That Gold Medal Worth?
The funny thing about gold medals in the Olympics is that they don’t contain all that much gold, making them far less valuable than one might think.
In fact, only about 50 ounces of gold were used to make ALL of the medals.
Underneath that shiny veneer is the real metal: silver. And for the 2018 medals, celebrated Korean industrial designer Lee Suk-woo used 99.99 percent pure silver. They each weigh 586 grams..
As for the value? Per The Street: “In total, 259 sets of medals have been made for the Winter Games. Crunching the numbers, 9,659 ounces of silver was needed for both gold and silver medals. With silver prices currently trading around $17 an ounce, the total value of all the medals is $164,203. Looking at gold, less than 50 ounces were used for all the medals. At current prices of around $1,314 an ounce, the total value is around $65,700.”
That means that each gold medal is worth around $500. Silver and bronze medals are worth about about $210 each.
But, of course, the true value an Olympic gold medal — or even a silver or bronze — is priceless.
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