[OLYMPICS]Pulling out the stops to host the Olympics

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[OLYMPICS]Pulling out the stops to host the Olympics


The mountain hamlet of Pyeongchang in Gangwon province may be well on its way to hosting Korea’s first Winter Olympics.
Although its bid for the 2010 games failed, one of the world’s leading authorities on sports says that Pyeongchang has a fighting chance of getting the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“Given how the Olympics tend to move around different continents, Pyeongchang is a strong candidate to host the 2014 Winter Games,” said Giles Morgan, managing director of sports marketing and sponsorship at Hill and Knowlton London, a public relations consultancy. “The fact that the 2008 Summer Games were going to be in Asia was actually a negative factor for Pyeongchang’s cause.”
Mr. Morgan was a key player in getting London the 2012 Summer Olympics, beating out Paris, New York and Moscow. He was in charge of strategic planning and promotion for London 2012, the committee behind London’s efforts to host the 2012 summer games.
With such credentials, Mr. Morgan is perhaps as qualified as anyone outside the International Olympic Committee to discuss a city’s chances of hosting the Olympics. He explained that the IOC’s penchant for equally awarding the summer and winter games across continents could work in favor of the Korean city.
“Now that the 2012 summer games will be in Europe, Pyeongchang is better positioned to take the 2014 Winter Olympics than Salzburg,” Mr. Morgan said, referring to the Austrian town which is Pyeongchang’s main competitor. Salzburg was also in the running for the 2010 Winter Games, and finished third behind Vancouver, Canada, and Pyeongchang in the final voting.
Mr. Morgan is currently visiting Korea to help the southeastern city of Daegu in its bid to host the 2011 International Association of Athletics Federations’ World Championships in Athletics. He pointed out that while Daegu’s facilities are a huge plus, no city can host international sporting events on the strength of their infrastructure alone.
Mr. Morgan said Daegu organizers must try to appeal to decision makers at the athletics association. That way, not only will they will feel Daegu is qualified to host the event, but they will want to visit the city themselves. He suggested Daegu utilize cultural heritage from the nearby cities of Gyeongju and Andong in promoting its bid. It could also use the Red Devils, the official fan club of the Korean national soccer team.
Mr. Morgan stressed the importance of central government support for any city’s bid to host global sporting events, citing London’s successful bid as an example. British Prime Minister Tony Blair personally met with key IOC members the day before the voting, helping London defeat heavily favored Paris.
The major determinant wasn’t Mr. Blair’s persuasion, Mr. Morgan said, but the fact that the leader of the country made himself available to demonstrate his passion for London’s efforts. By showing such enthusiasm, Mr. Blair left a powerful impression on IOC members that the Games in London would have strong support from the nation.
Mr. Morgan noted that all this work can pay off for the entire nation.
“Any sporting event that attracts worldwide media attention provides Korea with opportunities to promote its economy and technology,” he said. “The Korean government’s backing of bids for such events is significant in that it helps increase opportunities to promote themselves.”

by Kwon Hyuk-joo
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