The head of the PyeongChang bid committee has played down the impact of the Gangwon Province Governor Lee Kwang-jae’s departure on the city’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Lee lost his post last week after the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s six-month suspended jail sentence and a fine of 114 million won ($102,000) for receiving illegal political funds.
Cho Yang-ho, CEO of PyeongChang’s 2018 bid committee (File photo)
The timing of the court’s ruling could be problematic for the bid committee as Lee has played a key role in PyeongChang’s bid since he took the helm of the province seven months ago.
Lee was expected to greet officials from the International Olympic Committee during their inspection in PyeongChang from Feb. 14-20.
Cho Yang-ho, CEO of PyeongChang’s bid committee, however, said Lee’s dismissal would cause little damage to its bid campaign.
“The bid campaign is a team effort that is not dependant on one or two individuals, and we are all working together systematically,” Cho said in a statement released after the Supreme Court’s hearing.
Speaking with local reporters Friday, Cho also highlighted that PyeongChang is receiving strong support from the government.
“Gangwon Province was in charge of the bid campaign last time. But this time the Korean government is leading the way for PyeongChang to host the Winter Games for the first time here,” said Cho.
According to the bid committee, Kang Ki-chang, vice governor of Gangwon Province, will take over Lee’s post until the April 27 by-elections.
PyeongChang, the popular winter sports resort city in Gangwon Province, is competing against Munich of Germany and the French town of Annecy for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
PyeongChang submitted a candidature file earlier this month to the IOC and is now preparing to welcome a special IOC delegation who will conduct on-site inspections of all three candidate cities starting in February. The IOC will select the host by secret ballot on July 6 in Durban, South Africa.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org