Gangwon to host 2024 Winter Youth Olympics

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Gangwon to host 2024 Winter Youth Olympics

South Korea has been named the host country of the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Gangwon the right to stage the fourth edition of the quadrennial youth competition, following a vote during its 135th session in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday.

Of 81 valid votes, Gangwon received 79 votes in its favor. Korea is now the first Asian country to host the Winter Youth Olympics.

Gangwon is home to Pyeongchang, the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The neighboring towns of Gangneung and Jeongseon held skating and skiing events during the Olympics, too. For the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics, the province plans to use existing facilities from 2018.

Romania’s Brasov, Bulgaria’s Sofia and Russia’s Sochi were other candidates in the preliminary stage, but Gangwon was named the lone “preferred host” by the IOC’s Executive Board last December under the modified bidding process.

Last month, the IOC said its Executive Board would initiate “a targeted dialogue” with South Korea as the preferred host, following the recommendation from the IOC’s Future Host Commission.

IOC President Thomas Bach had said in December that the targeted dialogue between the IOC and the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) was “the last step before the potential election of the host.”

South Korea is also hoping to co-host the Winter Youth Olympics with North Korea to lay the groundwork for Seoul’s bid to co-organize the 2032 Summer Olympics with Pyongyang.

Bach said earlier that the IOC welcomes the idea of joint-Korean hosting of the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics.

Following the election, Sports Minister Park Yang-woo said the 2024 competition will “be a historic occasion that adheres to the IOC’s Olympic values of peace and cooperation.”

“Since President Moon Jae-in is in full support of inter-Korean exchange, we’ll try our best to ensure North Korea’s participation,” Park added.

Choi Moon-soon, governor of Gangwon, thanked the IOC members for giving his province another opportunity to host an IOC competition.

“It means a great deal to have this event in Asia for the first time,” Choi added. “And the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics will go a long way toward extending the legacy of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.”

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