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Reports hail PyeongChang win as ‘crushing victory’

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Published : July 7, 2011 - 20:09

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Foreign reports have described PyeongChang’s selection Wednesday to host the 2018 Winter Olympics as a “crushing victory.”

International media noted that Korea’s “dreams came true,” after a decade of trying to win the right to host the games, and remarked on the large portion of votes the country received from IOC members.

The Associated Press noted that it is “the first time an Olympic bid race with more than two finalists was decided in the first round since 1995.”

PyeongChang received an overwhelmingly large vote of 63, compared to 25 for Munich and 7 for Annecy.

“I was surprised by the margin. Definitely the patience and perseverance of the Koreans has been rewarded,” IOC President Jacques Rogge was quoted as saying in the AP report.

Determination to host the Winter Olympics was portrayed in detail in the official presentation with several quotes from figures such as Kim Yu-na and President Lee Myung-bak.

President Lee’s speech in English also received attention as he recalled how the 1988 Summer Olympics affected South Korea’s development and pledged complete support from the Korean government for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Described as a “persistent candidate for a decade” by the New York Times, PyeongChang was praised for offering the chance to “expand access to winter sports in the populous and lucrative Asian market” in its coverage.

Other reports emphasized Korea’s stature in winter sports. Korea was portrayed as the “Asian winter sports star” by AFP ― the country finished fifth in the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver with six gold medals ― and also “home to Olympic figure skating champion Kim,” indicating her worldwide influence and efforts to promote the bid.

The NYT report told how PyeongChang would be “the third Asian city to host the winter games, after Sapporo, Japan, in 1972 and Nagano, Japan, in 1998.”

AFP noted that “South Korea has now secured its fourth global sporting event following the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, the 2002 football World Cup co-hosted with Japan, and next month’s world athletics championships in Daegu.”

Many reports paid attention to the joyful reactions of Korean people who continued to celebrate overnight. Described as “PyeongChang’s perfect night” by the Wall Street Journal, the report said despite all the attention on the president, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee and Kim, “the victory belonged to the people of PyeongChang.”

Cheerful scenes of South Koreans celebrating the victory were depicted by many reports: “the best moments in my life,” “one of the happiest days for our country,” and “it felt like a dream” were some of the quotes used by Reuters to show the happiness felt by South Koreans.

PyeongChang itself came into the world spotlight as some of the reports focused on the region and winter sports in Korea. A Lonely Planet article “PyeongChang and beyond: winter sports in South Korea” on MSNBC introduced PyeongChang and other regions in South Korea where tourists can enjoy winter sports.

A couple of U.S. reports, including USA Today, said that there were some cases where PyeongChang was mistaken for the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in previous coverage, introducing the region as the candidate city for the Olympics.

To avoid confusion, MSNBC posted a new headline “PyeongChang (no, not Pyongyang) wins 2018 Olympics” for the AP article on its website to distinguish between the two.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)