Bye bye Pyeongchang: Post-Olympics is pre-Olympics

After 17 days and 102 decisions the XXIII Winter Olympic Games ended with the closing ceremony in Pyeongchang on Sunday. Commentators now look to the future: will the attempted rapprochement between South and North Korea bear fruit? Will more money be invested in mass sports? And can the spirit of Lillehammer be revived?

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Distrust of North Korea is justified

The Games have at least brought a certain détente in the North Korea conflict, NRC Handelsblad writes:

“These were not the Games of inter-Korean fraternisation. ... Nevertheless advances were made. Both the Americans and the North Koreans have declared their willingness to participate in preliminary talks. Should it come to that, it would be a big step in the right direction. Pyeongchang would not only have produced new records, but also realised the Olympic ideal in a special way. However, distrust is still called for. In principle nothing has changed, and it's entirely possible that North Korea just wanted to buy time to perfect its weapons programme and drive a wedge into the unstable international coalition that continues to put pressure on it by means of sanctions.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Invest more in mass sports

After Sweden's successful performance in Pyeongchang Aftonbladet calls for the country to invest more in mass sports. It suggests following the example of Prince Daniel who secured the support of local entrepreneurs and sports celebrities to inaugurate a new multi sports hall in Ockelbo:

“Terms like 'communal use' have become passé. ... The prince, however, is right. In addition to many other things more ice stadiums would be good for the community. The solution lies in collaboration between communes, associations and committed people who never stop nagging. ... The prince would no doubt be happy to inaugurate more ice stadiums, ski lifts and other training facilities - but they have to be built first.”

Kurier (AT) /

Bring the Winter Games back to Europe

The Winter Olympics must be brought back to Europe, the former Austrian Nordic combined skier and six-time Olympic participant Mario Stecher demands in Kurier:

“Pyeongchang was my seventh time at the Games [this time as commentator]. The absolute best event, however, was the very first at Lillehammer in 1994. Since then there's been nothing like it, and at some point we really should get that back. It should be our goal to hold the Winter Games in Europe once again, and it would certainly be in our interest. In a slimmed-down version, of course. It's time the Games were once again held in a location that already has the various sport venues required, and where you can be sure that the facilities will continue to be used after the closing ceremony. Because that's really the feeling I get here in Pyeongchang: that hardly any more competitions will be held at these Olympic facilities.”