Hanjin chairman back in the Games
The Hanjin Group chairman was unanimously elected in a meeting of 94 committee officials on Thursday and will serve out the remainder of Kim Jin-sun’s scheduled term as the Pyeongchang organizing committee president, which was due to expire in October 2015.
Kim quit last week saying new leadership was needed to complete preparations for the games.
“I feel heavy responsibility,’’ Cho said after his election. “I’ll do my best to achieve a successful hosting of the Olympics based on my experience as the bid committee chairman.’’
Kim’s departure sparked media speculation he may have been fired by the government amid concerns about construction delays and domestic sponsorship problems.
South Korea’s government audit agency said last week it had conducted a special audit of the organizing committee over its preparations for the Olympics. Audit officials said the weeks-long investigation assessed financing and management and said the results of are expected within three months.
Cho’s election requires the endorsement of the sports minister, which is considered a formality.
Cho was head of Pyeongchang’s bid committee when it won the right to bring the Winter Games to South Korea for the first time. He is a vice president of the Korean Olympic Committee and has been president of the Korea Table Tennis Association since 2008 and vice president of the Asian Table Tennis Union since 2009.
International Olympic Committee officials who visited Pyeongchang recently expressed no major concerns about preparations for 2018. The IOC last week said it has “full confidence’’ in the organizing committee.
Preparations for the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia came under heavy scrutiny for construction delays. The International Olympic Committee has already taken measures to help speed up preparations in Brazil for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.