Panel of experts delivers presentations about PyeongChang’s 2018 bid
PYEONGCHANG, Gangwon Province -- The head of PyeongChang’s bid committee says he was confident about how the bid was going.
PyeongChang, the candidate city of the 2018 Winter Games, is now undergoing on-site evaluation by the International Olympic Committee.
On day three of their visit, the 14-member panel officially began its schedule in PyeongChang on Wednesday, attending a series of presentations on the city’s proposals for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“I’m happy with today’s progress and our overall preparation,” said Cho Yang-ho, chairman and CEO of the 2018 PyeongChang bid committee in a news conference after attending the meeting.
“We’ve detailed that PyeongChang is now becoming a hub of winter sports in Asia, and we’re ready to host the Games,” Cho said.
Kim Jin-sun, a former governor of Gangwon Province who led two previous bids, said the IOC delegation asked more detailed questions about its plan and venues than during their last visit in 2007.
“I think that’s a good sign,” Kim said at the news conference.
On Wednesday, the delegates appeared at the Alpensia Convention Center just past 8:30 a.m., greeted by Cho Yang-ho, the head of PyeongChang 2018 bid committee, Park Yong-sung, chairman of the Korean Olympic Committee and other local officials as they entered a meeting room.
After a brief photo session, the IOC panel held a marathon meeting behind closed-doors all day Wednesday in the sleek room, decorated with soft blue LCD lights and draped in the bid logos bearing the slogan, “New Horizons.”
During the meeting, a panel of local experts delivered a series of presentations on eight different topics from PyeongChang’s bid dossier, including its vision, concept, venues, Olympic villages, accommodation, transportation and environment.
The speakers included four-time Olympian Kang Kang-bae, who is also the vice president of International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, and former short-track speed skater Kim So-hee, the 1994 Olympic gold-medalist.
“I tried to deliver the fact that PyeongChang’s plan is one of the most compact Games plans in Olympic history,” said Kang after his presentation.
“I talked from my experiences,” he said.
In the past Winter Games, athletes often had difficulties getting together due to the long distance between ice and snow venues, but PyeongChang’s two main venues are only 31 kilometers apart, with all the venues connected, and requiring less than 30-minutes travel time, according Kang.
“I think the IOC members were impressed by our Games plan,” he added.
With the slogan “New Horizons,” PyeongChang’s vision to extend winter sports across Asia by bringing the 2018 Games here was also highlighted during Wednesday’s hours-long meeting, according to the bid committee.
Mike Lee, a special advisor to PyeongChang’s 2018 bid, said the concept of opening up new horizons, was the “corner stone” of PyeongChang’s bid.
Lee, a British PR expert, is a former head of communications for London’s successful 2012 bid and Rio’s 2016 bid. Most recently he was also involved in Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid.
“These Olympic races are quite complex and (have) got many different dimensions. But the key thing is to make your own case, develop what your story line is, and that’s what I did for London, Rio and Qatar,” he told The Korea Herald.
And for PyeongChang the key is to herald its concept of “New Horizons,” he added.
“I think PyeongChang ran a very good campaign in 2014, only just failed to win. So this time it is just a question of going the extra mile all the way to win.”
On Wednesday, the IOC team was not allowed to speak with the media in adherence to IOC regulations. On Thursday, the IOC commission will start its on-the-ground inspection with visits to the Nordic, cross country, biathlon and ski jump venues at Alpensia Resort and snowboard and freestyle ski venues at Bokwang Phoenix Park.
PyeongChang, a popular winter sports resort city in Gangwon Province, is competing against Munich in Germany and the French town of Annecy for the 2018 Winter Games.
The IOC evaluation commission visited Annecy last week, and will be here in PyeongChang until Sunday. After a week-long break they will head to Munich to wrap up their tours of the three bidding cities.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org