On Friday, festivities kicked off at the Olympic opening ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea, with fans crowding into the stadium to watch the show despite the frigid temperatures. From pictures of the event, it looked like the stadium — which is built to hold at least 35,000 spectators — was fully packed. Is the opening ceremony sold out, though, or are there a few seats empty at the opening of the 2018 Pyeonchang Olympics?
The International Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment regarding ticketing figures. However, according to Yahoo! Sports and ABC, more than 35,000 fans were expected at the event, which would explain the $109-million stadium's full stands during the opening ceremony.
Tickets for the closing ceremony, however, are still available online. The two cheaper tiers are no longer available (and are likely sold out), but hopeful spectators can still purchase tickets from Tiers A and B starting at $874 and $552, respectively.
Regardless of the numbers at both stadiums, however, spectators can expect to be cold. In contrast to the last couple of Winter Olympics — in which both Sochi and Vancouver organizers scrambled to find solutions for the lack of snow in the warmer temperatures — PyeongChang has experienced quite the cold snap in recent days.
If empty seats remained during the opening ceremony — or any show up during the closing ceremony — it will likely be due to the cold. In fact, during the opening ceremony rehearsals on Saturday, many spectators had to leave due to the chilly weather, according to CBS. With wind chill, the 6-degree weather felt more like -7, making a portion of the crowd take off mid-rehearsal. Several people were diagnosed with hypothermia, and the ATMs in the arena stopped functioning.
Following the rehearsal, however, PyeongChang organizers stepped things up for the actual opening ceremony, distributing cold weather kits to all attendees. The full kits included ponchos, blankets, heated seat cushions, hand warmers, hot packs for feet, and toques, according to USA Today.
The organizers' cold-fighting plan, along with a lucky slight respite from the freezing temperatures, seems to have worked. Pictures showed crowds at the opening ceremony, who showed up to witness a pretty spectacular show, featuring an impressive 1,218 coordinated drones, fireworks, and even a shirtless Pita Taufatofua, Tonga's brave flag-bearer and sole Olympic athlete this year. Oh, and North and South Korea marched in under the same flag — you know, no big deal.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, spoke mainly to the Olympic athletes in the stadium on Friday night, according to The Guardian, saying:
Following Friday's opening ceremony, the games will begin, kicking off a medley of winter sports in two different clusters and 12 different venues over the next two weeks. On Feb. 25, after closing out the final women's cross country competition, athletes and spectators alike will meet back in the PyeongChang Olympic stadium to celebrate the victories and best moments of the global event.
Whether you were in the busy, cold stands of the PyeongChang stadium on Friday night or watching the kick-off from the warmth of your home, it's set to be a snowy and exciting Olympics. Here's to catching all the best moments.
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