PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (KXAN) – For most of us, watching the Olympics is something we do every two years – sitting in front of the television – cheering on athletes from home. But, for one man, after he experienced it in person once, he was hooked.
Ron Isbell is in his element, already making new memories on a trip to Pyeongchang he spent years planning, making this his 12th trip to the Olympic games.
Isbell’s journey started when he won a trip to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary on the radio. Now, each trip to the games is bigger and better for the super fan.
“I have 27 event tickets, so in Sochi I went to 28 was my record for a winter Olympics and I went to 33 in Rio,” he explained.
He also used an old trick to try and get into a North Korean orchestra performance; a simple sign that said “Olympic torch relay runner needs one ticket. Please help. Thank you.”
Unfortunately, the effort came up empty.
“No go on the ticket. There was only 560 tickets available and I read that they had 30,000 people apply for these tickets,” Isbell said.
He managed to get a ticket to the Opening Ceremony and slid into his seat just in time.
“I got to my seat with about 10 minutes to spare…In the seat and Yuna Kim lit the torch over my right shoulder,” he said.
His favorite sport of the Olympic games is snowboard half pipe.
“I would like to see Shaun White get another gold medal that would be great!” he exclaimed.
Another fun fact about just how serious this is for Isbell: He visits every Olympic host city a year in advance to plan out the trip and check the tourist attractions off his list so when the Olympics rolls around — he can hit the ground running going from one event to the next.