Gangneung Curling Centre welcomes Third PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Day Celebration

  • Photo © WCF / Céline Stucki

It was a full house during the opening ceremonies of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2017 in the Gangneung Curling Centre in Gangneung, Republic of Korea. Not only was it the opening day of the championship – but it was an international celebration, for all six Paralympic sports.

Thousands of local spectators decked in orange PyeongChang gear filled the stands to initiate the one year countdown until the 2018 Winter Paralympics and celebrate the third International Paralympic Day. The Korean pop-culture craze of K-Pop music replaced curling’s traditional bagpipers, with a crowd pleasing performance by well-known girl group Apink. The show had fans of all ages smiling and singing along with the up-beat Korean group.
The anniversary event welcomed dignitaries including: President of POCOG Hee Beom Lee, WCF President Kate Caithness, The second Vice Minister (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) Dong Hun Yu, Governor (Gangwon Province) MoonSoon Choi, IPC Governing Board Member Gyeong Won Na, Mayor of Gangeung City Myeong Hui Choi, KPC President Myeong Ho Lee, and Honorary Ambassador of POCOG Yuna Kim, 2010 Olympic champion figure skater. Kim, the two time Olympic medalist in figure skating and beloved Korean icon, threw the opening stone of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2017.
After the event, the buzzing crowd were encouraged to stay for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship’s second session of play to enjoy and experience the passion of the Paralympic Games. This sparked special excitement in the stands as hosts Korea were playing their first game of the championship.

Team Korea gave the crowd what they wanted – a dramatic stolen victory over team USA.
The 2018 Winter Paralympics will take place 9-18 March 2018 in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, showcasing six individual sports including alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling.

by feature writer, Emily Dwyer