[Letters] Advice for Pyeongchang to win 2018 bid

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[Letters] Advice for Pyeongchang to win 2018 bid

I would love to send this message to Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics bid, but I don’t have the networking capability to do so and I’d love to just share my thoughts with the Korea Joongang Daily.

My name is Jee Hyong (James) Chung and I am a proud Korean who has lived abroad all my life. I am currently working as an advertising executive in New York.

I really want Korea to win the bid to host the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018, and so, I’d like to make a strong recommendation.

I know Korea has failed a couple of times to win the bid and I am 100 percent confident that part of the reason for that may have been the naming of the bid: “Pyeongchang 2018.”

I have lived abroad all my life and I deal with foreigners (mainly English speaking) everyday at work where I live.

For foreigners, when they see the word “Pyeongchang” - they are scared to read it. Being Korean who is fluent in English, even I have to look at the word for a while before knowing how to say it. Generally, foreigners will say “is it pronounced ‘Pie’- ‘Ong’- ‘Chang?’”

It’s just a fact that it take a while to register in your brain how to say the city’s name. I understand it was a mandate across Korea before the 2002 World Cup to make sure the pronunciation of cities in Korea are spelled perfectly for foreigners, although in this case, I think it’s definitely backfiring.

I am sure we have the best bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and as a Korean who knows that the name “Pyeongchang” will unfairly make it harder to persuade the world - it’s just a huge pity.

Thus, I strongly recommend the name to be changed to “Pyongchang 2018.” It’s much simpler and much easier on the eye and tongue. Americans love simple names like Mike, Tony, Lisa and they prefer that for anything they have to remember.

When Hyundai was first introduced to the United States, I remember it took at least five years for them to get the pronunciation correct. Imagine adding an ‘e’ to Hyundai so it becomes “Hyeondai.” It would have taken Americans another five years to figure it out.

If even native English speakers have a hard time pronouncing “Pyeongchang,” imagine how non-native English speaking foreigners would pronounce “Pyeongchang.” I am sure they will be scratching their heads longer.

I know the branding and logo has been set with “Pyeongchang” but I think we still have time to make this change across the board to “Pyongchang” and I am 100 percent confident it will make our bid more appealing to the IOC.

As a proud Korean, who loves his country, I just had to make this recommendation even though you may think it’s too late or it will require too much time and money. Please consider this recommendation and I know you will not regret.


Jee Hyong (James) Chung, an advertising executive in New York
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