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Gangwon’s governor hopes he’ll be crying tears of joy this time

Feb 14,2007
Kim Jin-sun Executive president of Pyeongchang’s 2014 bid committee
On a July night in 2003 in Prague, Czech Republic, after Pyeongchang, Gangwon province, lost to Vancouver, Canada, by three votes for the right to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Kim Jin-sun, the governor of Gangwon province, cried himself to sleep. As executive director of the bid committee at the time, Mr. Kim soon gathered himself and immediately began thinking about getting the 2014 Winter Olympics, which he felt would help globalize his province.
Four years later, having been reelected as governor and returning as the bid committee’s executive director, Mr. Kim hopes to cry tears of joy this time. In July, the International Olympics Committee will vote to select from Pyeongchang, Russia’s Sochi, and Salzburg, Austria, the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The real test gets underway this week with the IOC’s on-site inspection of Pyeongchang, the first candidate city to be reviewed.
The JoongAng Ilbo sat down with Mr. Kim in Pyeongchang to discuss the city’s preparation for this week.

Q. How well are you prepared for the IOC inspection?
A. The inspection is essentially a review of our ability and capability to host a Winter Olympics, and doing so in 17 categories. The key will be our presentations and their visits to our facilities. The rest is to host the evaluators, and welcome them into Pyeongchang. I think we’re ready.

What are you prepared to present to the evaluators?
First, from the athletes’ village to 90 percent of facilities, the average travel time will be around 10 minutes. This would be unprecedented in the Winter Olympics. Second, we want to show that since this is our second bid, we’re as prepared as one can be. Last, they will get to see how enthusiastic the people of Pyeongchang are about the prospects of having the Winter Olympics here. We want to show the IOC people how badly the residents here want the Winter Games.

What comes after the on-site inspection?
We would like to promote our efforts through more exposure in the media worldwide. Then we would also like to capitalize on our network in the international sporting world to tell people about Pyeongchang’s strengths. IOC members will be the ones submitting the ballots to select the host city, and so we will enhance communication with them while staying within the boundaries of the IOC’s rules on ethics.

What are the prospects for Pyeongchang?
It’s hard to quantify our chances because IOC members haven’t said much. I just think all three candidates are neck-and-neck in this race. My estimation might be a tad more conservative than others’, and I think we’re in for a tough battle.

How will hosting the Winter Olympics help the development of Gangwon province?
Let me first talk about the Winter Games’ impact on Korea. The brand value of an Olympics is enormous, and we already have a Summer Olympics and a World Cup on our resume. The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang would help catapult Korea among the ranks of advanced nations. As for our province, the traffic infrastructure would be greatly improved, investment from the private sector would be accelerated, and tourism after the Olympics would also enjoy a boom. The Winter Games would put Gangwon on the world map.

With so much time and energy invested into the Winter Olympics bid, how are you handling other work as the provincial governor?
I’d be the first one to admit I have been concentrating heavily on the bid efforts. But this is my ninth year as the Gangwon governor. I can multitask just fine.

Some speculate that you might try to enter the National Assembly at the end of your term.
For now, I will focus on winning the Winter Olympics. My future will depend on whether we get to host the Winter Games or not. It’s important to have goals, but I don’t want to get too greedy.
I would like to bring the Winter Olympics here first, and then think about my future.


by Lee Chan-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]


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