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  • IOC Says PyeongChang 2018 Preparations Off to Good Start


    Gunilla Lindberg and Yang Ho Cho from PyeongChang 2018.(PC 2018)
    (ATR) After a three-day orientation seminar in PyeongChang, the head of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2018 Winter Olympics tells Around the Rings the development of the Games organizing committee is the next big challenge.

    "It's been great, a lot of technical work," Gunilla Lindberg, IOC member from Sweden, told ATR at the end of a venue tour Wednesday which wrapped up the visit.

    "There was lots of good interaction and questions. It think it's been very successful."

    She said the IOC delegation visiting PyeongChang, including Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli, had given a "whole package of information" to more than 150 Games stakeholders in a series of presentations at the Alpensia Resort this week.

    Lindberg said PyeongChang 2018 had until the end of the year to form an organizing committee.

    "They have to decide among themselves how to build their committee. It is an important organization to create, according to the culture in the country and their expertise," she said.

    No chairman was appointed during the orientation seminar, she confirmed.

    Bid chair Yang Ho Cho is vying for the chairmanship with Yong Sung Park, president of the Korean Olympic Committee. Former Gangwon governor Jin Sun Kim and former prime minister Seung Soo Han are also understood to be in the frame.

    One point of discussion was the site for the headquarters of the organizing committee.

    Lindberg indicated that while the IOC was keen for one or two offices in PyeongChang, two hours east of Seoul, it was up to the organizers to decide where best to base themselves to coordinate Games preparations.

    She noted that a significant step forward in 2018 preparations comes at the end of September. The South Korean government is scheduled to pass an Olympic law deciding the financial undertakings for the Games such as construction of railways and roads and other aspects of preparations.

    Over the three
    The Alpensia Resort was the site of the IOC briefing. (ATR)
    days of meetings with 2018 Olympics stakeholders, the IOC set out the key milestones ahead for the organizing committee and the framework of partnership that will guide preparations for the next seven years and outlined some best practices from previous Games.

    The IOC officials held meetings with all levels of government during its visit, including sports minister Choung Byoung Gug, Governor Choi Moon Soon and the mayors of the host communities. The PyeongChang 2018 delegation was headed by Cho and included KOC President Park, IOC member from Korea Dae Sung Moon and Ki Hong Kim from the sports ministry.

    Asked by ATR if she was impressed with PyeongChang's progress less than two months after it won a landslide victory in the host city vote at the IOC Session in Durban, Lindberg said: "Absolutely. They seem to know what they are doing. Already they have a lot of good experts working here."

    Commenting on the seminar's transfer of knowledge from the IOC to PyeongChang 2018, Cho said: "As we wrap up the IOC orientation seminar, I feel that we are off to a very good start."

    "We are learning a great deal from the IOC's expertise and experience, and the information we have received during this seminar will serve as the foundation for our preparations."

    In his comments released in an IOC statement, he added: "For the next seven years, we will work closely with the IOC, and all of their guidance, counsel, and friendship will ensure that we host a successful Winter Games in 2018."

    Lindberg told ATR that her next trip to PyeongChang will be at the end of the year when the chairman of the 2018 organizing committee is appointed. The IOC Coordination Commission stages its first inspection visit next March.

    On Thursday, Lindberg will travel to Innsbruck for a chefs de mission meeting for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games that take place in January.

    Homepage photo from Getty Images.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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