Winter Games host all up to IOC now

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Winter Games host all up to IOC now

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Korean Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na speaks with the media in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday, after Pyeongchang’s presentation to the IOC to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. [AFP/YONHAP]


Pyeongchang successfully passed the most crucial stage of the 2018 Winter Olympics bid campaign on Wednesday after making its pitch to International Olympic Committee members at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Pyeongchang, making its third consecutive bid to host the Winter Olympics, after failing to win the 2010 and 2014 Games, was last to make its technical briefing behind rival cities Munich and Annecy, France, but the Gangwon town delivered its message that it’s ready to host the Games after a decade of preparation.

“We are very delighted that we could deliver our message directly to the IOC members,’’ Cho Yang-ho, head of the Pyeongchang bid committee, said to reporters after the closed-door presentation. “I think we showed our strengths.”

In the 45-minute presentation, Pyeongchang emphasized its compact two-cluster venue plans that would allow athletes to move from venue to venue in a short amount of time.

The Gangwon town also showed a video clip featuring President Lee Myung-bak ensuring that the Korean government is set to meet all the requirements from the IOC and that hosting the event is part of the national agenda.

After the presentation, Pyeongchang faced a 45-minute question and answer session. The IOC questioned the bid committee about the relative unpopularity of winter sports in Korea, but committee members said they are working on a project called “Drive the Dream,” which would help boost the popularity of winter sports in Korea over the next seven years.

“The questions weren’t as difficult as we thought,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan, who was one of the six Korean presenters at the briefing. “Most IOC members were very friendly [to us].”

In previous presentations, Pyeongchang’s main challenger, Munich, was questioned about whether there was enough public support from the Garmish-Partenkirchen area - where the venues for the Munich Olympics would be built - while Annecy was probed about concerns regarding travel time between Olympic venues. IOC President Jacques Rogge said that the three candidate cities received a total of 27 questions - nine for Pyeongchang, seven for Munich and 11 for Annecy.

Pyeongchang has an 87 percent public approval rating in Korea, according to an IOC evaluation report, and is considered by many as the front runner for the 2018 Winter Games, but Rogge said it is going to be very tight race until the end.

“Don’t ask me numbers, but it’s going to be a close race definitely.” Rogge told Reuters. “I don’t expect a big gap between the three cities.”

During Wednesday’s presentation, Korea sent six panelists at the table to represent Pyeongchang.

Along with bid chief Cho, Foreign Minister Kim, Korean Olympic Committee Chairman Park Yong-sung, IOC member Moon Dae-sung, bid committee spokeswoman Teresa Rah and Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kim Yu-na, were trying to gain support from the IOC members who will vote for the host city on July 6.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Choung Byoung-gug, IOC member and Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee and Gangwon Governor Choi Moon-soon were also there to boost Pyeongchang’s presence at the presentation.

But among the Korean representatives, Kim Yu-na was possibly the most popular star at the scene. The 20-year-old figure skater was already in the media spotlight with German figure skating legend Katarina Witt, a former Olympic gold medalist who leads the Munich bid committee.

“I was so much more nervous than when I was competing in the Olympics, but I think it went well,” Kim told The AP. “I made a little bit of a mistake, but nobody noticed, I hope. I’m very satisfied and happy that I did well.”

IOC members were impressed with the way Kim handled herself during the presentation. “To have Miss Kim presenting as fluently and as wonderfully well as she did, it was very good for Pyeongchang,” British IOC member Craig Reedie told The AP after listening to Kim’s presentation.

Kim has served as honorary ambassador for Pyeongchang for more than two years and prepared for her presentation after taking the silver medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow last month.

Wednesday’s presentations were the first and last opportunity for three candidate cities to show off their platforms directly to the IOC members before they cast their final vote in Durban, South Africa, on July 6.


By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
로잔에 영상 메시지 보낸 MB “평창에 한국 정부 강력한 지원”

IOC 테크니컬 브리핑
조양호 “올림픽의 새 장 열 것”
이건희 "분위기 좋은 것 같다”

국제올림픽위원회(IOC) 테크니컬 브리핑이 18일(현지시간) IOC 본부가 있는 스위스 로잔의 올림픽 박물관에서 열렸다. 이 행사는 유치 도시가 결정되는 7월 6일 남아프리카공화국 더반 IOC 총회를 앞두고 마지막으로 열린 유치 관련 공식 행사로, 2018 겨울 올림픽 유치 경쟁의 하이라이트다. 90여 명의 IOC 위원이 참석했다. 한국에서는 이건희 IOC 위원과 정병국 문화체육관광부 장관, 김진선 특임대사, 최문순 강원도지사 등이 총출동했다.

 평창은 독일 뮌헨과 프랑스 안시에 이어 세 번째로 45분간 프레젠테이션을, 45분간 질의응답을 진행했다. 평창에선 조양호 유치위원장을 포함해 평창올림픽 홍보대사인 김연아, 박용성 대한체육회장, 김성환 외교통상부 장관, 문대성 IOC선수위원, 나승연 대변인이 프레젠터로 나섰다. 이명박 대통령은 “1988년 서울 올림픽이 한국에 새로운 시대를 열어주었듯 2018년 평창 겨울 올림픽도 그러할 것”이라며 정부의 강력한 지원을 약속하는 영어 영상 메시지를 보냈다.

 조양호 위원장은 “‘새로운 지평’을 주제로 한 평창의 비전은 올림픽 운동의 새 장을 열 것”이라고 말했다. 박용성 회장은 “스물한 차례 겨울 올림픽 중 아시아에서 개최된 건 단 두 번뿐”이라고 강조 했다.

 모스크바 세계선수권대회를 끝내고 유치팀에 합류한 김연아는 “어린 시절 내가 올림픽을 보고 꿈을 키웠듯이 평창이 겨울 올림픽을 유치해 아시아의 많은 어린 선수가 꿈을 키우게 되면 좋겠다”며 자신이 한국 정부의 겨울스포츠 선수 육성 프로그램의 수혜자이며 평창 겨울 올림픽은 선수를 중시하는 올림픽이 될 것임을 강조했다.


 한편 이건희 위원은 “분위기는 좋은 편이냐”는 취재진의 질문에 “그런 것 같다”고 말했다. 이번 행사 기간에 어떤 사람들을 만날 것이냐는 질문에는 “만날 사람은 이미 다 만났다”고 대답했다.

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