AZUZ: With the start of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games just over two months away, the host nation of South Korea has a couple of unique challenges ahead of it. Usually, with the games looming, there are concerns about readiness. Will the venues be finished? Will transportation be efficient? Will security be in place?
But when it comes to the games in Pyeongchang, which is close to the border with North Korea and just 200 miles from southeast Russia, concerns involving geography and geopolitics seem to be playing a bigger role.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the Olympic torch makes its way around South Korea, problems are mounting for this winter games.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russian Olympic Committee is suspended with immediate effect.
HANCOCKS: One of the world's major winter sports powers is out. The IOC is banning Russia for systematic manipulation of anti-doping rules.
And there's another major country wavering. U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, was asked by FOX News if U.S. attendance was set in stone.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: There's an open question. I have not heard anything about that. But I do know that in the talks that we have, whether it's Jerusalem, whether it's North Korea, it's always about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?HANCOCKS: For South Korea, there is no plan B. Officials say North Korea, just 50 miles or 80 kilometers away from Pyeongchang, does not pose a risk, referring to previous sporting events they have successfully held, including the Summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988.
These were the final preparations in Pyeongchang a few weeks ago, transforming the area outside the stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held.
Park Seung-hei is the site manager.
Personally, I don't think you need to worry, he tells me. No one around here is talking about North Korea.
Ham Young-man has sold jewelry in the area for 40 years. He also dismisses security concerns.
The slogan for the games is the peace Olympics. I believe tensions will ease and people from many countries will take part.
Confident voices in the region that stands to lose the most if visitors stay away.
Two months out and lagging ticket sales enjoyed a boost from 100-day events and the torch relay. Fifty-four percent is being sold as of November, slightly better than the winter games in Sochi four years ago.
But organizers now have to contend not only with tourists put off by North Korea, but the likely loss of many Russian spectators, if there's no national team to cheer on.
Paul Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.