[Viewpoint] Pyeongchang Games, pride and hope

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[Viewpoint] Pyeongchang Games, pride and hope

The Olympic Games have long been one of the most celebrated festivities of the global community. The quadrennial sports event this year is staged in London. The city is filled with a jubilant crowd enjoying momentary relief from a challenging economic situation weighing on the European continent as well as other parts of the world. It is a time of joy and one of the greatest moments for athletes as well as fans from every part of the globe.

The Olympics is not a simple athletic event. In the days of ancient Greece, the Olympic spirit was so sacred it would put warring countries on hiatus. The Olympics Games from the beginning were upheld not merely as an international sports event, but as a symbolic celebration uniting people around the globe with hope, fraternity and peace.

We are now 2018 days ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. When the day comes, the world will reunite in Pyeongchang and Gangneung to watch and celebrate the winter multi-sport event.

The London Olympics were pressured to out-do past ceremonies - especially the landmark Beijing extravaganza. They stood out with their elegant and pragmatic way of incorporating the merits of globalization. For instance, the catering of food - bananas, coffee, tea, sugar and chocolate - as well as flowers for the winners will be served by the Fairtrade Foundation on and off the field during the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The foundation is an alliance of nonprofit organizations aimed at arranging trade and returning rewards at fair prices to farmers and workers in developing countries. The British government opted for the organization to practice the Olympic spirit of fairness.

The Olympics in many ways can serve to benefit the future and global peace. There is much to learn from the principles and spirit of the Olympics as we prepare ways to demonstrate our commitment. Through the Pyeongchang event, we hope to vitalize the Olympic movement in a memorable melting pot of economic, cultural, environmental and peace engagements.

The London Olympics through opening and closing ceremonies as well as other auxiliary festivals has been explicit in underscoring its quintessential history and tradition. We too must delicately incorporate various world cultures into our rich heritage of 5,000 years. As athletes jockey to do their best, we should do our utmost to buttress the value of fairness and by doing so demonstrate and build our national strength and dignity.

We also plan to display our national prowess in digital, information and communication technology through the Pyeongchang Games. Under the slogan of “Smartopia” - coined from a combination of words “smart” and “utopia” - we plan to provide unique Korean cultural experiences on digital platforms to exhibit both the country’s history and future. We plan to commercialize fifth-generation mobile technology by then to deliver Olympic experiences vividly to the living rooms in every corner of the globe.

We will be true to the Olympic spirit of “faster, higher and stronger” in aiming for greatness. We will be a meticulous host and offer the best possible environment for athletes striving to beat themselves and others.

The stadiums and fields in London have been constructed to emphasize the British style and nature of practicing austerity and practicality in a dignified manner. The Pyeongchang committee has also vowed to deliver eco-friendly games. The main stadium for opening and closing ceremonies and competitions, as well as media centers, will be built with zero-waste and low-carbon principles to make the event and projects as profitable and sustainable as possible.

As the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics and 2002 World Cup have done, hosting multinational sports events has emboldened our pride and hope during difficult times. The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games will be our next impetus. We will learn from others to make our own Olympics as memorable and great as possible.

Translation by the Korea JoongAng Daily staff.

*The author is the president of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

by Kim Jin-sun
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