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Facilities 'just like back home' support Japanese athletes at Pyeongchang Olympics

Recovery pools at the Japan Sport Council's High Performance Support Center in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Mainichi)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- A facility set up by the Japan Sport Council (JSC) to help Japanese athletes competing in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics stay in tip-top shape and recover quickly from their respective events was opened to the media Feb. 7.

The High Performance Support Center, which has two locations -- one in Pyeongchang, where most snow sports will be staged, and another in Gangneung, where indoor ice events will be held -- have been open to Japanese athletes since Feb. 4, and will stay in operation until the Paralympics draw to a close in March.

The Pyeongchang facility is about 1 kilometer away from the Olympic Village, and offers such amenities as Japanese food, training facilities, care from physicians and trainers, contrast bath therapy using carbonated spring water and relaxation rooms where athletes can watch Japanese television.

A training room with various equipment at the Japan Support Council's High Performance Support Center in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Mainichi)

The goal of the center is to provide the kind of care that Japanese Olympic athletes usually get at the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences, their training headquarters in Japan, from the staff from whom they are accustomed to receiving care and support.

This is the second time that the JSC has set up such a center at the Winter Olympics, after Sochi. Athletes competing in events such as mogul skiing and skeleton have already been using the facilities. According to the JSC, the support centers have been popular among Japanese athletes, as the facilities do not have to be shared with athletes from other countries, as do training facilities provided in the Olympic Village.

"We want athletes to be able to do everything they need to be at their best going into their events, and to recover quickly from them so that they can prepare for the next one," says Kazuhiro Shimizu, who is in charge of running the support centers.

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