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  • On the Scene: Citizen Passion Praised by IOC Commission


    Large, enthusiastic crowds have greeted the IOC Evaluation Commission at multiple stops in the region. (ATR)
    (ATR) IOC Evaluation Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg says she enjoyed seeing the passion of Gangwon residents during her tean's inspection of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic bid.

    Speaking at the IOC press conference following the inspection of PyeongChang and venues in Gangwon Province, Lindberg said “I must also mention the passionate support of Gangwon residents. During our site visits it has been wonderful to see so many people to show their support t to bring the Olympic Movement to Korea.”

    When asked for her impression of the bid, Lindberg, noted the improvements to PyeongChang and the area.

    “We have seen great progress from the previous two bids and we also see very strong governmental support for this bid.

    She added: “also we have seen progress of Korean winter sports in the past few years.”

    According to Lindberg, the Games could help improving relations with North and South Korea.

    “We think that the Olympic Movement and Olympic Games is sports events is a force for good and can maybe also help the situation between the
    Lindberg was joined on stage by Gilbert Felli, IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games. (ATR)

    Tensions have escalated between the two countries in recent months, but Lindberg seemed unfazed.

    “We have had the situation for the past 60 years in the peninsula of Korea. And during that time Korea has hosted the Summer Games, University Games, they will host the athletics world championships this summer, and they are also the host of Asian Games.”

    Immediately following the IOC press conference, the bid team also met reporters.

    Yang Ho Cho and six other bid leaders took the stage, including one of South Korea’s two IOC members—Dae Sung Moon.

    Cho thanked residents for showing their enthusiasm for the bid during the IOC visit and said the commission was “probably most impressed about was the strong engagement of residents of Gangwon province.”

    He would not however, offer an assessment of the bid’s chances.

    Saying the July 6 decision in Durban will be decided by IOC members
    PyeongChang 2018 chairman Yang Ho Cho. (ATR)
    “so it is hard to say whether we are optimistic or pessimistic and we want to do out best until July.”

    The main takeaway Cho said is “we kept our promise to open a new horizon”.

    His view of the IOC’s reaction: "I think they were pleased with the promises we kept and the message to promote winter sports in Asia. I think they could feel the new horizons opening up. We are satisfied.”

    In a statement, South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Sik Kim said “it was an honour to host the IOC Evaluation Commission.”

    He added that he believes shows “we can deliver on our promise of new horizons for Olympic winter sports and the spirit of Olympism.

    “I am delighted with how the visit has gone and very proud of our bid team who have been magnificent throughout.”

    The Evaluation Commission toured Annecy, France last week. On March 1 the commission visits Munich, the third 2018 bidder.

    With reporting in PyeongChang by Ed Hula III.

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