LAUSANNE ― PyeongChang’s hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics would be a crucial opportunity to promote winter sports and the spirit of the Games in Asia, its bidding committee said Wednesday.
In a news conference after its presentation before the International Olympic Committee members in Lausanne, Switzerland, committee officials also emphasized its compact, athlete-friendly venue and pledged the Korean government’s full support for a successful event.
“We fully explained to the IOC members our vision and cause: that PyeongChang will open new horizons in Asia’s winter sports,” chairman Cho Yang-ho told reporters.
“More than 90 percent of local residents and the South Korean government strongly support the Winter Olympics. An Olympic Games in PyeongChang will create a winter sports boom in Asia.”
The PyeongChang bid committee presented the IOC with the country’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics at the technical briefing on Wednesday.
The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic bid delegation makes its presentation to International Olympic Committee members at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)
The Seoul government also reaffirmed its support for PyeongChang’s bid.
“The South Korean government gives top priority to the Winter Olympics bid,” said Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, who led the delegation.
“If PyeongChang wins the right to host the Olympics, the government will guarantee the entire construction costs and invest $500 million in promoting winter sports by 2018.”
The delegation also includes figure skating star Kim Yu-na, honorary ambassador for PyeongChang’s bid.
“I felt nervous in the beginning. Many people said that I was good, so I’m happy now,” said the Olympic gold medalist.
The host country will be chosen at the IOC General Assembly in Durban, South Africa, on July 6.
In its third bid, PyeongChang is competing with Munich and Annecy, France. The host city will be selected by secret ballot at the IOC executive board meeting in Durban on July 6.
Some IOC members were said to have recognize that the city’s bid chances have improved significantly compared to its two unsuccessful previous attempts in 2010 and 2014.
Eighty-nine IOC members and hundreds of reporters across the world gathered at the Olympic Museum, overlooking Lake Geneva and the French Alps, for the 2018 technical briefing.
The IOC briefing was the first opportunity for the three bidders to present their pitches directly to the IOC committee.
Other committee members included Korea Olympic Committee Chairman Park Yong-sung and IOC members Lee Kun-hee and Moon Dae-sung.
Reports suggest that PyeongChang is the favorite for the 2018 games, with Munich running closely behind in its bid to become the first city to host both the Winter and Summer Games.
With its slogan of “New Horizons,” PyeongChang’s plan is focused on what is best for winter sports, for winter athletes and for the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, according to Cho.
“Our message to you today is clear and unique. PyeongChang 2018 is an opportunity for the Olympic Movement, building upon the lessons of the past, but looking forward to new Horizons,” he was quoted as telling the IOC members.
By Oh Kyu-wook and news reports, Korea Herald correspondent