Revamp the organizing committeeKim Jin-sun, president of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Organizing Committee, suddenly resigned this week, saying a new leadership is needed now that the committee is halfway through with its preparations for the country’s first Winter Olympics. Kim was devoted to bringing the Olympic Games to Pyeongchang, a rustic county in Gangwon Province where he was governor. After two unsuccessful bids, Pyeongchang finally won the bid in 2011. He stepped down as governor to become president of the organizing committee in October 2011 and was reappointed last year. His new tenure lasts until October next year.
The Board of Audit and Inspection confirmed that Kim was being investigated over questions surrounding preparations for the Olympics. The negative publicity will not bode well for the organizing committee, which is already behind schedule. In a statement following Kim’s resignation, the International Olympic Committee said it had confidence that the organizing team would create a roadmap of activities in a “timely manner and using their existing processes.”
The government must quickly appoint a new head of the committee with both political and management abilities. The organizing committee, created by a special law on the Pyeongchang Games, is an extraordinary body comprised of members of the central and local governments and sports and business associations. All-around leadership is needed to navigate through differences and conflicts of interest between the diverse institutions. Recently, the leadership of the committee had been shaky due to differences over finances and budgeting. It attained just 30 percent of its goal in seeking corporate sponsorship.
The incoming president must be a passionate leader who is skilled in management in order to cooperate with the central and local governments as well as the corporate sector. The new head also must reshuffle his or her organization and revise the preparation process. South Korea has the hard-won bid to host the Winter Olympics. If the committee continues to have issues, the Games cannot win support from sports fan at home or abroad.
JoongAng Ilbo, July 23, Page 30