PyeongChang could be the most frigid Olympics in decades

Bitterly cold conditions await athletes in PyeongChang

By Beverly Perry - Meteorologist
Getty Images

A general view of Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre in Alpensia Resort Park is seen during the media tour of the venues. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)


The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in South Korea is Friday. 

As Team USA begins to arrive in PyeongChang, there’s an unusual deep freeze setting in the air there.

On Tuesday, the thermometer reading was only 3 degrees, but it felt like -4.

That kind of cold could affect the athletes and the people coming to see the action. 

The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang could take the gold for record-breaking cold. 

It’s on track to become the most frigid Olympics in decades.

Temperatures have already plummeted to -9 degrees Fahrenheit this winter.

Punishing wind chills are making it feel even colder. 


Team USA will wear special battery-heated jackets during Friday’s Opening Ceremony.

Inside the stadium, an estimated 35,000 spectators, including world leaders, will spend about three hours in the dangerous cold, which could lead to hypothermia. 

To combat hypothermia, volunteers will hand out blankets.

Organizers have also set up heat lamps and wind shields.

“Some of the foreign guests have canceled the tickets, as we advertised that it will be very cold,” said Lee Hee-beom, PyeongChang organizing committee president.

The bone-chilling freeze is funneled by a blast of very cold air from Siberia.

It could be 10 degrees colder at the Olympic park by the coast, and in the mountains, where tens of thousands will gather at seven open-air venues.

Team USA's Dr. David Weinstein said, “I think the athletes are pretty well-insulated for the hypothermia issue, but for somebody out watching a sport, it can occur as quickly as 45 minutes." 

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