LAUSANNE – Building on the momentum of a comprehensive bid process run by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the organisers of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games have got off to a strong start, embarking on preparations to deliver the Republic of Korea’s first Olympic Winter Games.
The IOC Coordination Commission for PyeongChang 2018, chaired by IOC Executive Board member Gunilla Lindberg, made its first inspection visit to the winter resort town this week and praised the work already undertaken by the local organisers.
The commission also included René Fasel, IOC Executive Board member and IIHF President.
“We were pleased by the high quality of presentations that were delivered by the very capable team at PyeongChang 2018, under the leadership of President Jin Sun Kim,” said Lindberg. “They have a good grasp of what is expected of them and what they need to accomplish. They have taken full advantage of the bid process to learn from the IOC and previous Olympic hosts and this is clearly reflected in their current work.”
The Commission visited PyeongChang from 20 to 22 March, with the organisers confirming that they would continue to build upon their impressive bid vision for the Games, which has a strong focus on sport, legacy and sustainability. In addition, the structure of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (POCOG) is quickly taking shape, with the key roles already filled.
The Commission also got a first-hand look at the venues in the Alpensia and Gangneung coastal clusters. Six of the sites already exist and a clear construction schedule has been established for the others - indeed, the construction of the Olympic Village in Gangneung has already begun. All the venues are being developed with a view to providing optimal competition and training conditions for the athletes at Games time.
The strong support for the Games and the integration of the Korean authorities, at all levels of government, was underlined once again by their presence during the visit and the work carried out last year to pass the special act in support of the Games.
“It was a rewarding inaugural meeting with the Coordination Commission under the astute leadership of Mrs Lindberg,” said POCOG President Kim. “The positive appraisals and invaluable advice will serve us well in the years to come. We would like to express our gratitude to every member of the Coordination Commission and IOC administration, and to the national and local governments, as well as the Korean Olympic Committee.”
The relationship between POCOG and the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) is also working well, with the KOC giving the Commission an overview of its project to develop its team for the 2018 Games. The development of winter sport in Korea will be a key legacy of the PyeongChang project, and many International Federations have offered their support in this regard.
POCOG also continues to work on its “Dream Programme,” which brings young people from areas of the world without a winter sports tradition to PyeongChang to practise sport on snow and ice. The programme is a legacy from PyeongChang’s bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and the Commission was very supportive of its long-term continuation.