The 12th Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, which runs through March 18 in South Korea, has officially set the event record for ticket sales, reaching 320,351 tickets sold. An outstanding achievement for the event, made all the more ironic by the woes the main event faced in its ticketing operation. The International Paralympic Committee said in a statement that this year’s sales surpassed the previous number of 316,200 tickets sold in Sochi, Russia in 2014. This record-breaking number also doubled the 162,974 tickets sold during Italy’s 2006 tournament and exceeded the 230,000 sold at Vancouver in 2010.
Last Friday’s opening ceremony was attended by 21,000 people; more than 100,000 had purchased tickets for the first three days of competition. The number of athletes has also increased this year by 24 percent, totaling 670.
“It is fantastic news that Pyeongchang 2018 has now sold a record number of tickets,” IPC president, Andrew Parsons, said. “After three days of competition, the response from the athletes and Koreans has been outstanding. Athletes are thriving on the energetic support from the crowds and are delivering some exceptional performances as a result.”
Athletes compete in 80 medal events across six sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, biatholon, wheelchair curling and snowboarding. According to the IPC, the three top-attended events during this year’s games so far included the wheelchair curling morning and evening sessions on March 12, as well as the Para ice hockey on March 10.
In addition to hosting the games, PyeongChange 2018 also launched a project aimed to promote the Paralympic winter sports, called “Actualising the Dream.” This project raises awareness of Para sport, the competing athletes, and promotes inclusion of people with an impairment or disability.
Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyongchang organizing committee said that he was joyful to see so many newcomers at this year’s event, especially from overseas.
“The people of South Korea have embraced the passion of the Games and many are experiencing para sports for the very first time,” he said.
Closing ceremonies will commence on March 18.