When you attend the Winter Olympics, you should probably expect it to be cold. However, the 2018 Games could be the coldest Olympics in a long time.
In fact, many spectators who attended Saturday's rehearsal for the Games' Opening Ceremony wound up leaving the open-air stadium because of the freezing cold. According to ABC News, frigid temperatures hovered around 6 degrees with a wind chill factor of 7 degrees below zero during the rehearsal, prompting a significant portion of the crowd to disperse in the middle of the ceremony.
Some of those people that departed the stadium early ultimately were diagnosed with hypothermia symptoms. It was so cold that ATMs around the stadium stopped functioning because they were frozen.
Weather.com is reporting that the organizers in Pyeongchang are taking additional measures to make sure that fans in attendance during the actual ceremony on Friday will be more comfortable.
Spectators of the opening ceremonies and games held in the open-air Olympic Stadium will be given a lap blanket, knit caps, a warm seat cushion, multiple hand and feet warmers and a raincoat. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30s (or 1 to 3 degrees Celsius) for much of Friday in PyeongChang.
Patio heaters, hot food and beverages and numerous rooms with windscreens and heat will also be available for spectators to use during the opening ceremony, which is expected to be attended by 35,000.
Call me crazy, but it probably would have been a smart idea to to install some sort of roof (or central heating system) on the $58 million stadium that was built for the Winter Olympics in a spot known for having frigid winter temps, but here we are.
Instead, fans will be asked to bundle up and brave the cold for hours, and that's not just for the duration of the ceremony. The lines to get into the stadium are expected to be lengthy (up to three-and-a-half hours) and most attendees will be forced to park about 20 minutes away from the venue.
It sounds like it could be a very bitter start to this year's Games in South Korea.