[VIEWPOINT]Big dreams for the Pyeongchang OlympicsTo this day I can clearly remember the inspiring and exciting moments of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The closing ceremony was particularly impressive. Everyone, hand in hand, was immersed in the excitement and joy of the Olympics. Despite Korea’s disoriented domestic political situation and fractured international relations amidst the Cold War, both the foreign and domestic press, which had been skeptical of the idea of an Olympics in Korea, were clearly abashed and astonished by the outstanding success of the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
The success was no less than another “Miracle of the Han River.” Later, by hosting the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, Korea presented its people’s passion, unity and impressive achievements to the world, bringing numerous surprises and excitement for all. Today we are close to achieving another national dream.
We are once again hoping for a miracle, and Pyeongchang will be where our dreams come true. Through the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, athletes from all over the world will have the experience of a lifetime, win honors and make unforgettable memories; local citizens will benefit from the area’s dramatic development; Korea will be recognized as an advanced nation, and the world will come together in peace and harmony.
So then why must Pyeongchang, not any other city, become the host for the 2014 Winter Olympics? Our most important reasons are the following.
First, we will provide the finest athlete-oriented Olympics. To insure the successful hosting of the Olympics, all arenas are within 30 minutes of Pyeongchang. Every Olympic facility has been designed to provide the safest, most convenient, easily accessible and beautiful environment, to insure that the athletes are in the most excellent conditions possible. We have located our Athletes Village at 700 meters above sea level, the altitude in which athletes experience their most comfortable biorhythms.
Second, we will provide the first wired Olympic Games. Being one of the world’s leading information technology developers, we will incorporate our outstanding IT into the transportation, lodging, safety, game schedules, ticket management and watching in person of the Pyeongchang Olympics to make the Olympics accessible to everyone across the globe. We will provide a completely different and special Olympics, incomparable to any Olympics of the past.
Third, the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will provide a gateway toward peace between North and South Korea; by doing this we will realize the ideals of the Olympics. The citizens of the Republic of Korea are certain that the hosting of the 2014 winter Olympics will initiate an era of peace between North and South Korea. Through the Olympics, a variety of cultural exchange projects will be devoted to develop relations with North Korea to realize an Olympics of peace.
We will develop a multilateral and organic cooperation with the International Olympic Committee, International Federations and each respective National Olympic Committee to promote the Olympic ideals and develop the Olympics into an initiator of peace.
Fourth, through the 2014 Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang will become a winter sports hub of Asia, providing the necessary infrastructure to develop Asia’s relatively weak winter sports. More than 400,000 ski tourists from Asia visited Pyeongchang in 2005.
If we were to host the Olympics, we expect an annual average of 1 million Asian tourists to visit Pyeongchang to enjoy winter sports in an excellent sporting environment. Pyeongchang has continuously endeavored to develop such an environment. For example, during the 2010 Winter Olympics selection process, Pyeongchang proposed a “dream program,” in which young athletes of Asian nations in climates that do not allow them to enjoy winter sports have the opportunity to experience winter sports.
To keep these promises, Pyeongchang has faithfully executed the dream program, allowing 108 athletes from 22 countries in 2004, 109 athletes from 26 countries in 2005, and 118 athletes in 2006 to come to Korea and experience winter sports.
Fifth, Pyeongchang is doing everything it can to realize a green Winter Olympics. The installation, management and transportation of every Olympics-related facility will be managed under a Green Plan that places the environment, nature and scenic aesthetics as its main priority. The construction of every facility will be monitored by environment professionals and related sports groups to institutionalize environmental concerns.
Above all, Pyeongchang is waiting for the world. Surveys show that 96-percent of Pyeongchang’s citizens are extremely supportive of the move to host the Olympics (compared to Russia’s Sochi, 78-percent and Salzburg, 46-percent) and the Korean government has promised tremendous support. Pyeongchang awaits citizens from across the globe for an event of peace and harmony where the passion and dynamism of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup will live on.
We await you with arms wide open.
*The writer is president of the Korea National Sport University.
by Lee Seung-kuk