USFK to be part of PyeongChang Games via gala

By Alex Park
  • Published : Aug 1, 2017 - 14:12
  • Updated : Aug 1, 2017 - 14:12

The United States said Tuesday it's bringing an unprecedented gala to Seoul to celebrate the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and show support for the organizers of the 2018 event together with American troops stationed in South Korea.

The U.S. Olympic Committee is hosting the "Team USA WinterFest" event at the Yongsan base of the U.S. Forces Korea on Feb. 19 next year during the Olympics.

"The connection between Team USA, and the military is very, very strong," Patrick Sandusky, the committee's chief external affairs officer, said at a press briefing at the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. It was also attended by the USFK commander Gen. Vincent K. Brooks and the USOC's CEO Scott Blackmun. Brooks gave no formal remarks.

Sandusky pointed out that 52 US athletes participating in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics had a military background or ties.

There's a special bond between American athletes and troops, as they both want to be "gracious guests" in Korea, and they get the same feeling when they represent their country abroad, he added.

Scott Blackmun (L), CEO of the US Olympic Committee, holds a press briefing with Lisa Baird (C), the committee`s chief marketing officer, and Patrick Sandusky, its chief PR officer, at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul on Aug. 1, 2017. (Yonhap)
He stressed South Korea is going to be an "excellent host" of the quadrennial games as it was in the 1988 Summer Olympics.

"Hopefully, this event will be a showcase for the whole world to see Korea," he said. "Our team wants to show support not only for the troops but for the organizers in PyoengChang."

It would mark the first time that the USOC holds such a gala at an overseas military base.

In the program to be sponsored by The Hershey Co., American singer-songwriter Rachel Platten will perform a concert, and some US athletes will join an autograph signing event.

"We want to bring the passion of sports and the Olympic spirit, and share that with you and your families," said Lisa Baird, the committee's chief marketing officer. "We want to bring the excitement of PyeongChang 2018 and the pride of Team USA here to Yongsan."

The gala will be co-organized by the US Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, better known as the Army MWR.

The PyeongChang Olympics are slated for Feb. 8-25, 2018. (Yonhap)