Pyeongchang selects 2018 committee director
Choe Kwang-sik, minister of culture, sports and tourism, announced that Kim had been tabbed to lead the preparations for Korea’s first Winter Olympics. Pyeongchang is located about 180 kilometers (112 miles) east of Seoul in Gangwon. Kim is expected to be formally elected during the committee’s inaugural general meeting next week.
The alpine town edged Munich and Annecy, France, in July this year to win the bid to host the Winter Olympics, succeeding in its third consecutive attempt. Kim had been an executive director for the two previous bids, and served as the special ambassador for the successful run this year.
Kim is known for his extensive network in the international sports circle. His term will be two years.
“Special Ambassador Kim has been more passionate than anyone from the planning stages of the Winter Olympics until the successful bid,” Choe said about the selection. “He is the right person to realize Pyeongchang’s dream of opening up new horizons. The organizing committee has to put in a lot of work right from the start and we felt Kim, a Gangwon native, was the one to do the job.”
Cho Yang-ho, a chairman of Hanjin Group, was head of the bidding committee and he had been seen as a leading contender for the top position on the organizing committee.
Choe recognized Cho’s role in securing the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and said, “Cho will take up some sort of a role one way or another.”
Also yesterday, Moon Dong-hoo, vice chairman of the organizing committee for the World Championships in Athletics held in Daegu this year, was named the secretary general for Pyeongchang’s team.
Moon has an extensive sports background, having been secretary general during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted by Korea and Japan, and also secretary general of the World Taekwondo Federation.
Choe said the organizing committee will be headquartered in Pyeongchang but a liaison office will also be set up in Seoul.
“We will discuss with the chairman who will be picked for the organizing committee,” the minister said. “The list will include Korean members of the International Olympic Committee and also star athletes such as [figure skater] Kim Yu-na.”