The Korea Herald


IOC official sees Winter Youth Olympics in S. Korea as 'legacy in action'

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 18, 2024 - 19:48

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The Olympic Rings inside the Gangneung Olympic Park in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on the eve of the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics. (Yonhap) The Olympic Rings inside the Gangneung Olympic Park in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on the eve of the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics. (Yonhap)

With the South Korean eastern province of Gangwon set to host the Winter Youth Olympics six years after staging the country's first-ever Winter Games, the youth event represents "legacy in action," a senior official with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Thursday.

Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games at the IOC, said at a press conference that the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics, which will open Friday, will successfully carry on the legacy from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Reusing venues from PyeongChang 2018 for the youth event is one way in which such a legacy will live on, the official said.

"I started across many of the venues and they have done a truly good job at the organizing committee level. It looks really splendid," Dubi said following an IOC Executive Board meeting in Gangneung, the host of all ice events during the Winter Youth Games.

"We have had very positive reports from the athletes themselves, of course, international federations, national Olympic committee officials," Dubi added. "So at venue level, we are on a really good track."

Gangwon Province had been among the least developed regions of South Korea before hosting the 2018 Olympics. And ahead of the competition, a KTX high-speed railway was built to connect Gangwon to Seoul and the capital region. Dubi pointed to that as another part of the legacy from six years ago that will help attract spectators to the youth event.

"I arrived about a week ago and what you see is truly legacy in action," Dubi said. "The previous weekend, we had a lot of tourists visiting Gangneung here and that is based on the train infrastructure that connects Seoul to Gangneung."

Since many officials who worked for PyeongChang 2018 are back running Gangwon 2024, Dubi said expertise from the experienced staff will help with a successful staging of the youth competition.

"You have human capital in terms of event delivery that matches anywhere else around the globe and this expertise will be displayed once more in what is going to be done here in the next few days," Dubi said. "So once more, this province will have the opportunity to shine. This is why these Games are very relevant and make sense."

Dubi said Friday's opening ceremony will be an opportunity for South Korea as a whole to "showcase their culture, history and especially future."

"The Games are always an opportunity to create the unique moment where the world gathers as one great community," he added. "This is something we all remember from 2018 and something that again will be displayed tomorrow."