Seoul chosen for Olympic bid

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Seoul chosen for Olympic bid

The South Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said Monday that it will launch a bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics, which may be the first inter-Korean Olympics, with Seoul as the host.

The committee held a vote Monday on whether to select Seoul or Busan as the host city for its bid for the Summer Games.

“The members of the committee voted for Seoul as the host city,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in its statement Monday.

The mayors of Busan and Seoul presented their cases to the committee at the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong, Monday.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon has been voicing his interest in a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics with Pyongyang ever since he returned from his trip to the North Korean capital in September last year.

Park was part of the special entourage that joined South Korean President Moon Jae-in for his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that month.

Moon and Kim, at their third summit, signed a joint statement that included an agreement to launch a joint bid to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games.

In November last year, Park said it was actually his idea to put a joint Olympics on the agenda for the third summit last September.

Park told media outlets since his trip that Seoul is ready to host its second Olympics after the 1988 Games, especially following the renovation of sporting facilities throughout the city for the 100th National Sports Festival in October this year.

“Mayor Park, in his presentation, stressed Seoul’s 625 years of history as the capital city of Korea, as well as its financial capacity, ready infrastructure and competence as a global city,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in its statement.

“Members of the committee examined major sporting facilities in Seoul, including the Jamsil Sports Complex, and questioned the mayor about his plans to have Seoul host the Games.”

Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don proposed launching a joint bid with Seoul.

“If North Korea decides on an additional city to Pyongyang to enter the bid together, it would be a complete inter-Korean peace Olympics to take place throughout the peninsula,” Oh said in his proposal to the committee.

“Only five countries throughout the world have hosted the Olympics twice in the same city. If Seoul enters the bid with Busan, then it will be able to lower the risk of not getting selected.”

Emphasizing that Busan hosted the 2002 Asian Games, Oh urged the committee to consider Busan as a host city, which he said “would ensure that opportunities for development are not centralized to Seoul alone in Korea.”

After the committee’s decision, Park said he will try his best to win the bid.

“I am happy that Seoul was selected, but I know that we still have to compete against Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, Melbourne and others,” he told the committee. “This is only the beginning of the process and Seoul will try its best.”

Park added, “The world is welcoming the prospects of an inter-Korean 2032 Olympics. Seoul will do all it can to prepare for the next 13 years to host the Games with the North, which, hopefully, will provide more opportunities for social, cultural and economic cooperation between the two Koreas.”

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