The organizers of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics said Tuesday South Korea's lone International Olympic Committee member Ryu Seung-min and former short track speed skater Kim Ki-hoon will serve as "mayors" of the athletes' villages.
The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games said Ryu, a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission, will manage the PyeongChang Olympic Village and Kim, who delivered South Korea's first Winter Olympics gold medal in 1992, will be chief of the Gangneung Olympic Village.
The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games held a ceremony Friday at the athletes’ village to celebrate the completion of its construction on Dec. 16, 2017. (Yonhap)
The POCOG also selected Park Eun-soo, the vice president of the Seoul Sports Association for the Differently-abled, as mayor of the athletes' village during the PyeongChang Paralympic Games.
The POCOG said they will be officially named mayors next Tuesday in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul.
The athletes' living quarters for the Winter Olympics were completed last month.
The PyeongChang Olympic Village will serve athletes competing in snow events taking place in the PyeongChang Mountain Cluster in PyeongChang, and Jeongseon, about 20 kilometers south of the PyeongChang Mountain Cluster.
The Gangneung Olympic Village is about 20 kilometers east of the PyeongChang Mountain Cluster and will be home to athletes competing in ice sports. Gangneung will host hockey, curling and all skating events during the Olympics inside the Gangneung Coasting Cluster.
The POCOG said the PyeongChang Olympic Village will be used for both the Olympics and the Paralympics, but the Gangneung living quarters will only be in use for the Olympics.
Ryu, the 2004 Olympic men's singles table tennis champion, is the second South Korean to be elected to the IOC Athletes' Commission, after former Olympic taekwondo gold medalist Moon Dae-sung. The 35-year-old earned the seat in 2016 following a vote by the athletes in the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.
Kim became first South Korean to win a medal at the Winter Olympics after he topped the men's 1,000-meter short track event at the 1992 Albertville Winter Games in France. He also won the 5,000-meter relay in Albertville and grabbed another 1,000-meter gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics. The 50-year-old is currently a professor at Ulsan College teaching athlete trainings.
Park is a veteran administrator in sports for the disabled. The former lawmaker also worked as the chief of the Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled.
"I'm very happy that Ryu and Kim, who both have Olympic experience as athletes, and Park, a veteran administrator in disabled sports, joined us as mayors of athletes' villages," said POCOG chief Lee Hee-beom. "I expect athletes to feel it like they're living in their home when they stay at the villages." (Yonhap)