[EDITORIALS]Olympian skullduggeryPyeongchang lost its bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by three votes to Vancouver, Canada. While disappointed, the people applaud the delegation and its efforts. However, upon its return to Korea, the delegation shocked and confused people with allegations that the Korean representative to the International Olympic Committee was responsible for Pyeongchang’s loss. Kim Yong-hak, a Grand National Party member who served on the Pyeongchang delegation, charged that Kim Un-yong, a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee, had in effect led a movement to oppose the Korean bid because he thought it would hurt his chances of being elected vice-president of the committee. He won that office soon after Pyeongchang lost its bid. If these allegations are true, it is indeed regrettable that Mr. Kim ruined the national interest for his personal interests. In that case, Mr. Kim deserves severe criticism.
We do not yet know the full truth, but several delegation members expressed dissatisfaction with Mr. Kim’s behavior. Before the result was known, discord between the delegation and Mr. Kim had seemed merely a difference in opinion. The day before he left for Prague, where the meeting was held, Mr. Kim told the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee that he wished the foreign minister would stop funding even ambassadors to lobby for the bid. Unfortunately for Mr. Kim, the fact that he won his election four days after Pyeongchang lost its bid is reason enough for a disgruntled public to believe the charges.
Mr. Kim’s name has too often been mentioned in connection with allegations of sports corruption. But he is a man with powerful international influence and he has contributed immensely to Korean sports. It is practically impossible for the truth of this matter to be found. To make a political issue out of it wastes our energy, and the mud-slinging among ourselves disgraces us in international opinion. A person as important as the prime minister was the head of the Pyeongchang delegation. These allegations should be looked into promptly and appropriate measures taken.