PyeongChang WINNERS [Day 1 & 2]

Sunday, 12 July 2015


So I joined this program called PyeongChang WINNERS Reporters. If you're interested you can actually take a look here: http://goo.gl/t7TCJM. Apparently it's not just for foreigners like I thought, and it turned out that only 3 out of 30 of us were foreigners. You have to have a good command of English because most of the content that you have to churn out has to be in English. Anyway, if you are interested in joining for next year, you can have a look at the link I attached above.

Anyway, the gathering time for the opening ceremony was at 8:30am, which meant me leaving Songdo, Incheon at an amazingly early time of 6:45am. I cannot emphasize enough how much I dislike waking up early, especially during the holidays. But since it isn't everyday, what the heck right? Took a bus down towards Sinchon, then the train down to Seoul Station, where I walked towarsd the Korean Air building. Fun fact, the CEO of the PyeongChang WINNERS program, is also the CEO of Korean Air. Amazing huh.

Before our opening ceremony (발대식) started, there was the disbanding, or closing ceremony (해단식) of last year's reporters. There were some prize giving ceremonies for the most outstanding reporters, and many speeches by our managers. We also had a welcoming speech from the representative from last year's reporters too. It was pretty nice, and they all seemed like they really enjoyed this experience, which made me even more excited for what I was about to experience.

1기

 Me!



 We were also given a portable battery charger as a gift with PyeongChang and the motto on it
(Probably because we'd be using our phones a lot as a reporter?)

Thereafter, we had lunch before getting on the bus. Needless to say, the lunch was amazing, though it came in a lunchbox. It was from Outback Steakhouse.. like omg? I've never even had the chance to go in the restaurant and eat it myself because the prices were so steep and here I was, having a lunchbox of BBQ Pork Ribs, Chicken Fajitas, Roasted Potato Wedges, steamed rice and a side salad. It. Was. Good.


We shared some time together introducing ourselves, finding our team members and learning more about each other. Although it's pretty tough for me, it's a really good chance to practice my Korean listening skills, as well as speaking skills. Though the content that needs to be produced has to be in English, information given as well as shared to us is all in Korean, on top of all my teammates being Korean. 



After a long ride of around 3 hours, we arrived in PyeongChang, and headed straight to the hotel to drop off our stuff, have a look at the room, before we gathered in the conference room to begin our program for the day. The room was nice, and it was shared by 3 guys (me included) with a Toilet, Living Area, (mini) Kitchen, and 2 Bedrooms. We stayed in this hotel that seemed to be run by Olleh KT (www.cowels.co.kr




We gathered in the conference room on the first floor again right after for a few different lectures regarding what was expected of us, what our aim was, and some other lectures from our managers as well as sports experts and managers. We learned about the different types of games in the Winter Olympics, and how the scores are counted and the safety and dangers. 





After the lectures, we headed towards the restaurant for dinner, which was a buffet. As expected, I took a buttload of food again. I really don't know why I can't exercise self-control when it comes to food :( I love to eat, and I always tell myself, "Hmm this won't be enough", and end up taking more. But nevertheless, it was nice, and I tried this drink which one of my teammate said was really good called "수정과" which is a Korean traditional punch, except it's a cinnamon punch so the taste and smell was a little too strong for me. It is nothing like the cinnamon sugar on top a nice warm cinnamon roll with icing sugar, that's for sure. 



After a filling dinner, we headed back to the conference room where we were to have activities for us to bond and to get acquainted, (친목 도모). We started off with coming up with our team name, and drawing a team poster. We came up with the team name Winners Patch. Apparently, the word "dispatch" in Korean has a totally different meaning from the one in English, that means to "send". Dispatch actually is something like the paparazzi in Korea. They even have a slang for it called patch. Anyhow, we were the "paprarazzi" for PyeongChang WINNERS, and our slogan was that we are dispatched from PyeongChang. 





So groups went up to present their team names and slogans, and the top 3 would win certain prizes. We won 2nd place and got drinks! The first team actually won fried chicken.. really wanted to eat it... But anyway, the prizes were mostly drinks and food so that we could continue to get to know each other after the activities. 

Thereafter, we had games, so they prepared 2 games for us, first one being "Speaking with our body" (몸으로 말하기) where one person from the group would see the word, and have to act it out with their body for the rest of the team to guess. We won 3rd place and got Korean beef jerky. The second game was like the whisper game where you would pass the information of one thing to the next person till the last person, who would guess. However, through drawing. This game was called Telestration (텔레스트레이션). Everyone had a lot of fun and laughs, whilst getting to know each other.
  


Then came 11pm where we had to vacate the conference room, we all headed upstairs to our own respective rooms to wash up and promised to meet up in another room to talk and play more games. So firstly we gathered in one of the girls' rooms together with group 2, as people slowly took off to shower and sleep since we had to get up relatively early the next day. 

After a while, we decided to join together with another room that was having their own gathering as well. So group 1 and 2 went 2 rooms down to join group 3 and 4 and we continued chatting and getting to know each other. After a while, games started and everyone was just enjoying themselves. Slowly, 1 by 1 people left to go to bed and when we all finally decided it was time to hit the sack, it was 3:40am. Considering the fact that we had to get up the next day at 7:30am, it didn't seem like a great idea to continue.... hahaha.

 인증샷!

The next morning, I got up feeling all groggy and sleepy, didn't even bring my phone down when I went for breakfast to take a photo. After we had our breakfast, packed and lugged our things down to the ground floor, we waited to board the bus where it would bring us for a tour of the PyeongChang Olympic Grounds (평창경기장) where the games that were on snow were to be held. 


This is what a ski resort looks like without snow

So we had a briefing on where the games were to be held, and where these locations were in PyeongChang. The games were to be held in two different areas: The Mountain Cluster, and the Coastal Cluster. So the sports that requires snow obviously need a huge area, especially in the mountainous region with steep slopes. So the Mountain Cluster was located in PyeongChang whereas the Coastal Cluster was located in Gangreung. We learned about the different locations where the sportsmen, reporters, and representatives from different countries would stay. 





Holiday Inn

Went to all the different locations by bus, though short so that we didn't have to walk under the sweltering heat. Had a short briefing every place we went, a little briefing on the different games that will be held, what is its current status and how it will be during the Olympics. It's quite an experience. I mean, you would always be able to see how great the place looks through pictures and if possible, personally. But nobody actually sees the grandeur in its construction, planning and establishment. 



Went up the building that will be used for the Ski Jump. It was really high, with 2 different heights, and an observatory deck. The view from above was great, and we had a mission here to do so we started taking a lot of photos of each other with the decorations inside the observatory which already had the colors of the Olympic Games, together with logos and their slogan.


   
 Passion. Connected.

  


  Making the Olympic star with our legs... 

  





The place was pretty spectacular, and we also got to have a look from the outside. The view was pretty spectacular, and I could just imagine it when it's winter and the entire place is covered in snow. It would be pretty beautiful. Here, we spent some time taking group photos, and everyone started going down towards the field to take photos together with the magnificent background. Well I'll let the photos do the talking!









Jump Shot!

  
 Re-creating the logo

  

 Team 1 Jump Shot! 





After the entire tour, it was time for lunch! We moved to this place where they served Dried Pollack (황태) and it's one of the best places apparently. It was pretty okay for my taste... didn't really like most of the side dishes because it's mostly vegetables (as usual haha) but the grilled fish was really delicious. I love salty food and it really hit the spot, just like those "Korean food" that I eat in Singapore. 




After lunch, we boarded the bus to another construction site, where we would see one of the future sports arena for the Winter Olympic Games. It's currently in progress now, so the entire place is just off limits everywhere. We got the chance to walk around, listen to our managers tell us more about the place, and it's roughly scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.





And... finally on to the last activity of the day: CURLING! I can safely say that many people would never have the chance to try out curling, let alone seen or heard about it. I've actually only ever seen it once on television... and to be frank I had no idea what the heck they were doing, and wondered if it was even a sport since it doesn't seem like they do any exercise. I was pretty excited to be able to try it, nevertheless.



So basically, in curling, you are supposed to slide using 1 foot whilst sliding with the stone, and then pushing it off with a certain amount of strength to land it within a circle. So you push off from the place called a "hack" and you have to release your stone before you hit the back line. So the objective is to land your stone in the middle of that red ring for the highest amount of points. It's a little bit like billiards... or chess but with stones.


Picture from online

Our instructor




Teaching us how to push off and land the stone into the circle for points








It was pretty fun because we all got the chance to practice and even played a few games against each other. I have to say this was one of the most unique experiences I have ever had, and even more so since I would have probably never had the chance to try this sport if I was in Singapore. Being a part of this program has really given me a chance to see a little more about this place where I will call my home for 5 years, and to be a part of something as grand as the Winter Olympics. On top of that, being one of the only 3 foreigners in this program, I believe it would improve my Korean a lot, in terms of listening and speaking, especially.

After that, we moved back to Seoul, where everyone bid farewell and split ways, however I had to rush down to Gwangju to meet the rest of the people from Wow Korea Supporters, because it was also the first day of the 2nd trip! I wasn't able to attend the first day, so my journey started only from the second day onwards. 

I'm looking forward to doing this program well for the next 6 months together with my team, promoting the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics through the WINNERS Reporters Program, at the same time, learning as much as I can about the different sports in the Winter Olympics, improving in my writing, having a lot of new content for my blog, and hopefully be able to meet Kim Yuna D:

Till next time!

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