Nominee for 2018 Games chief is not a sports man

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Nominee for 2018 Games chief is not a sports man

The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics Organizing Committee may soon be under the leadership of a former bureaucrat who never managed a sporting event.

Multiple officials in the organizing committee and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said yesterday that Chung Chang-soo, former vice minister at the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, has been nominated to succeed President Kim Jin-sun, who resigned from the post on Monday without giving a detailed reason.

“The government has decided that Chung, born in Gangwon [where host city Pyeongchang is located], is the type of person who can prepare the Winter Games well,” a Sports Ministry official said. “But since Chung isn’t from the sports industry, the government is considering hiring someone from there to help him.”

Under the organizing committee’s regulations, the president is elected at the group’s general meeting, but since the Sports Ministry must approve the result, the position is effectively filled by the government.

But some committee officials are not pleased with their potential new leader. Compared to their former chief, Chung is not a noteworthy man. Kim became president in November 2011 after he helped win the International Olympic Committee’s bid to have the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.

“Not many officials here recognized his name when we first heard it,” an official from the organizing committee said. “Some said the government just found someone whom they can easily control.”

Chung was a vice minister at the Land Ministry from 2010 to 2011 and was CEO of the Incheon International Airport Corporation last year. He ran in the ruling Saenuri Party’s primary for Gangwon governor in the June 4 local elections and lost.

The organizing committee is worried that Chung is not capable of managing a series of large-scale projects including solving problems with construction projects that have been delayed due to differences between the Gangwon and central governments.

“Those issues are what even former chief [Kim], who is the most experienced man in this business, had difficulty dealing with,” an official of the organizing committee said. “I have no idea what the new chief can do for the Winter Games.”

When Kim resigned, there were rumors that an audit of the organizing committee in June resulted in him having to leave office.

BY kwon sang-soo []

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