A month has passed since the Paralympic flame was extinguished, but the legacy of PyeongChang 2018 continues to live on.
Here are seven ways the Paralympic Winter Games will make an impact on home soil and around the world:
1. Infrastructure in South Korea
A fit-for-purpose traffic network is essential for the smooth operation for every Games, and this was no different for PyeongChang 2018 as road and rail networks were upgraded.
Two expressways and a high-speed railway were opened to allow visitors to move around the Gangwon-do province, where the Games were concentrated around. They also allowed for better connection between the capital Seoul to the host city.
Apartments used as the Paralympic Village and Media Village have been completely sold to the local residents. People are ready to move into the eight apartment blocks for 600 households in the Paralympic Village, nine apartment blocks for 922 households in Gangneung Village – used during the Olympics – and 23 apartment blocks for 2,561 households in Gangneung Media Village.
There are also refinement projects for the surrounding scenery in PyeongChang currently underway, such as flags of all nations installed around major routes, old facilities modified and amenities established to enhance accessibility for people with an impairment. This is turn will transform PyeongChang into a tourist city.
2. Sport venues impact
The post-Games plan for Games facilities has been outlined. The Paralympic competition venues (Alpensia Biathlon Centre and Gangneung Curling Centre) will be used as public sports facilities or serve as training centres for the athletes from home and abroad. This would be done under the agreement among the city of Gangneung, Korea National Sport University and the Catholic Kwandong University.
Accessibility in venue cities was important during the Paralympic Games, and projects have been in place to continue building and expanding upon that.
Gangneung hosted Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling competitions, and PyeongChang saw biathlon and cross-country events. Project plans are under works to improve accessibility particularly in restaurants and accommodation throughout the cities.
4. Environmental impact
Notable efforts were made to ensure an eco-friendly Games.
The new venues in the host city PyeongChang were constructed according to the Green Architecture Support Act, and therefore are required to meet the standards of certifications with ratings above level 4. Forests that were uprooted due to construction of the venues were substituted with alternative planting efforts to offset a negative environmental impact. Ultimately, 174 hectares of offset planting will occur in Goseong and Taebaek, counties in the Gangwon-do province. A total of KRW 41.8 billion will be used to restore the ecological system around the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, where Para alpine skiing and snowboard competitions were held.
5. Developing winter Para sports
The International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) development arm the Agitos Foundation and POCOG partnered in 2016.
As part of the project entitled ‘Actualising the Dream,’ organisers developed 13 programmes under four different streams, all of which aim to raise public awareness of the Games, increase participation in Para sport, grow the profile of the Paralympic Movement and leave a lasting legacy. It takes in all sports on the programme – Para alpine skiing, Para snowboard, Para biathlon, Para cross-country skiing, Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling,
Workshops such as coaching courses in cross-country skiing and biathlon, and the first women’s Para ice hockey training camp, are just a few of the projects held during this time.
6. Paralympics brings people together
PyeongChang 2018 saw North Korea compete at a Paralympic Winter Games for the first time, and an historic moment came when South Korean biathlete Bogue Choi and North Korean cross-country skier Yu Chol Ma entered the Olympic Stadium together as torch bearers.
North Korea also received a jubilant applause when their delegation took part in the Athletes’ Parade in the Opening Ceremony.
The Paralympic Mural was unveiled as well, representing a wall which turned into a bridge, and shows the support for the principles of the United Nations (UN) Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It shows the commitment to a new world without barriers and limits to our human abilities, connecting all nations and promoting peace through sports.
7. Partnerships formed
The Games saw the Korean Paralympic Committee (KPC) and the Agitos Foundation sign a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a framework for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of joint programmes to develop Para sport in the region.
The main goal of the agreement is organise international workshops for technical officials, coaches, athletes and classifiers at the facilities of the KPC Icheon Training Centre, a multi-training sports complex established for South Korean national Para athletes.