Former minister is set to be new chief of Winter Olympics
Lee’s appointment was unanimously agreed upon by general assembly members and distinguished Pocog officials and personnel, including Yeo Hyung-koo, Pocog’s Secretary General and honorary ambassador Kim Yuna, at the 18th meeting of Pocog’s general assembly on Thursday.
Lee’s designation will be finalized after approval by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which is expected to be a formality. Once Lee is approved, he will officially assume the top position at the winter games preparation committee on May 16.
The committee’s decision to nominate Lee as the new chief came after the sudden resignation of former chairman Cho Yang-ho, who stepped down to focus on his troubled company, Hanjin Group, and its affiliate Hanjin Shipping which has been struggling with operating losses.
During his address to the general assembly, the 67-year-old ex-minister said, “At this juncture only a year and nine months to go before the grand opening of the winter games, I am honored as well as burdened with heavy responsibility to be nominated for such an important post. If I were to officially assume the position after the approval by the minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, I will devote myself fully for the successful PyeongChang Olympics.”
“I am aware of the concerns raised after my nomination,” Lee said. “Although I have worked as the advisor and consultant for PyeongChang’s Olympics bid in 2006 as well as the chair of the bidding body of the Gwangju Summer Universaide in 2008, I still lack the expertise and experience in affairs related to sports. What I lack, I will make it up with my effort and advice from the experts in different sectors.
“The Olympics is becoming so much more than just a mere sports event,” he said. “It is becoming a mega sports event encompassing different areas including economics, culture, environment and science. The 2018 PyeongChang Games is a historic project that will showcase the development of Korea to the world and put Pyeongchang’s name on the map as a major winter sports hub.”
Lee promised that he will resolve all the impending issues by “working in the field and cooperating with the executives and staff of Pocog.”
At a press conference after the assembly Lee said, “I know about the concerns that people have about my nomination and while I sympathize with some of them, I think there are some misunderstandings as well. I will openly communicate with the public to resolve such matters.
“As I have said during my statement at the general assembly, I will carry on with the general principles of the committee such as cultural, environmentally friendly and economic Olympics.”
Although there’s limited time before the winter games start, Lee said he will overcome the stumbling blocks and utilize the available resources to host the Games successfully. Lee promised he will visit the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the near future to streamline his relationship with the body and make sure that the Olympics facility will continue to be put to good use even after the winter games are concluded.
According to the official statement by the Pocog, the first item on his agenda is a two-day trip to Pyeongchang and Gangneung to visit the Olympic venue sites and be briefed on overall preparations.
BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [email@example.com]