President Lee Myung-bak is rolling up his sleeves to support the country’s third attempt at hosting the Winter Olympics in the popular winter sports resort city of PyeongChang in Gangwon Province.
Lee flew to the city Tuesday to host a reception for the 14-member delegation of the International Olympic Committee, which arrived here Monday to carry out an onsite inspection until Feb. 20.
The president stressed during the reception that only two of the total 21 Winter Olympics were held in the Asian country of Japan, pointing out that countries outside Europe and North America should be given more chances to host the international event.
Lee also persuaded the IOC delegates to help the country’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Games, highlighting the nation’s unceasing aspirations for the event, which were displayed through its three attempts.
PyeongChang is currently competing against Munich of Germany and the French town of Annecy for the 2018 Games. It has failed twice in bids to host the 2010 and 2014 games.
The Winter Olympics took place 13 times in European countries and six times in North American countries. France hosted the Games three times while Germany hosted the Games once before.
Ahead of the delegation’s visit to the city, President Lee instructed the government to exert all efforts for the hosting of the winter event, saying that hosting the Winter Games is a “nationally crucial task.”
On the same day, Lee also met with some 50 adolescents from overseas who were participating in the “Dream Program” in the city.
Seoul launched the program in 2004 to offer adolescents from countries without icy weather chances to experience winter sports. Nearly 950 people from 47 countries have so far participated in the program.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com