On the spot

Jae Kook Sim

Mayor of PyeongChang

City of PyeongChang

The PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games are already a popular success. What instruments and incentives were used to mobilise the local population and to ensure ownership of the locals of “their” Games?

Koreans are basically diligent and passionate. Enthusiasm and efforts have rebuilt the national land that was ruined by the Korean War in just 60 years and made it the sixth largest export country in the world. Passion and enthusiasm of the people towards sports, shown during the 88’ Seoul Olympics and the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, amazed people from all over the world.
PyeongChang did not give up even after failing twice to be a host city for the Winter Olympics. After trying for three times, PyeongChang finally was able to become a host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics with the full support and concern of our citizens. Based on the public opinion poll, PyeongChang received more than ninety percent of the people’s support. I believe that due to everyone’s participation along with the owner’s consciousness brought the PyeongChang Winter Olympics together. The high desire and expectation to change and develop the region through the Olympic Games resulted in the voluntary participation of the people.

The Olympic Games are likely the best showcase for a city worldwide and represents a unique occasion for a specific place to be in the spotlight. What kind of spin-offs and benefits do you expect for your City, your province and your country after the Games?

I think the impact of the Olympics on the region is very strong. First, the brand value of PyeongChang has increased sharply. PyeongChang was selected by the New York Times to be included in the “100 Best Places to Visit this Year” list in 2016. PyeongChang is expected to solidify its position as the center of Asian winter sports through the 2018 Winter Olympics. It will be developed as a city that has highland sports and leisure complexes which represent Korea and recognized globally.
Secondly, the next big change is the dramatic improvement in connecting the road network from PyeongChang to the capital area. The opening of ‘KTX“, the high-speed train may act as an opportunity and a threat in various fields such as tourism, living environment, etc. However, it is clear that PyeongChang will have a big positive impact on tourism industry development.
Also, there has been a big change in the local people’s lives. Until these days, it is showing fruit with the cultural citizen movement for greeting Olympic guests which promotes the four major tasks of kindness, cleanliness, order and volunteer service. I think that neat food and lodging businesses and care and smile of the residents are brightening the future of PyeongChang.

Sustainability today is a prerequisite in a candidature to host the Games, as stated in the IOC Agenda 2020. How did you handle the question of sustainability and what are the key environmentally-friendly elements of the PyeongChang 2018 Games?

I strongly support the IOC “Agenda 2020”. Sustainability is a precondition for a sustainable Olympics and regional development. PyeongChang has proposed and decided to take the Olympic Games to the full extent of the existing ski area rather than new development considering the environmental aspect.
Several newly built stadiums were constructed with minimal damage to the natural environment. After the event, they will be used as national training facilities or sightseeing facilities. In particular, only two sliding stadiums are in Asia. So our Organizing Committee has suggested to the Organizing Committee of Beijing to use the Sliding Center as a venue for the Beijing Olympics in 2022.
The Dream Program, which has been promoted since 2004 for the purpose of promoting sustainable winter sports (total 14 sessions), is proud to have contributed greatly to the growth of Asian winter sports and will endeavor to continue these programs. In addition, we will steadily promote skier training programs such as Kids Ski Camp and Dream Ski Class.