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Governor Kim Jin-sun of Gangwon

Posted August. 02, 2005 03:02,   


“Once you set your mind, your goal can be easily achieved.”

What does this mean? Does this mean that anyone who has a plan is more likely to achieve their goals?

Kim Jin-sun, Governor of Gangwon-do, began his remarks with the above quote, his favorite motto.

For the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, seven cities, including Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do (Korea), Salzburg (Austria), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Sochi (Russia), Borjomi (Georgia), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Jaka (Spain) are in the running, which officially started on July 29.

Governor Kim is going to play a leading role in this competitive race with the other cities.

“In 1996, I was serving as administrative governor. At that time, I always thought about ways we could develop Gangwon-do. My solution was to hold the Winter Olympic Games in this area. At first, my friends and co-workers were skeptical about my idea. However, once I set this in my mind, I got it moving forward and realized that I was not barking up the wrong tree. I believe that when creation begins, history becomes made.”

“At that time, nobody even thought of holding the Winter Olympic Games in such countries as Korea, which were far behind in winter sports. Contrary to the 1998 Seoul Olympic Games, which was pushed ahead by the state leadership, the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games movement was initiated by a local self-governing body, which finally drew the attention from the central government.”

However, Governor Kim suffered a hard time because of this.

Pyeongchang had a serious conflict with Muju-gun, Jeonbuk in the national level race both for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This conflict stimulated local antagonism and political fissures, and ended up being marred by a notorious scandal.

In addition, at the general meeting of International Olympic Committee (IOC) held in July 2003 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Kim Un-young, despite general worries over his negative impact on Pyeongchang’s bid for the Winter Olympic Games, declared himself as a candidate for the position of vice-president of the IOC. This still remains an unforgettable misfortune to Pyeongchang.

Even though in the first voting, Pyeongchang beat Vancouver, Canada. 51-41, another three votes were needed to hold a majority and that led to a second vote in which the race was reversed—Vancouver gained 56 votes and Pyeongchang gained 53 votes.

“Sport has something to attract me. In Prague, when it was confirmed that we lost the race, I cried out without worrying about the eyes of others around me. However, I saw the new possibility of a forthcoming chance despite the bad memory from Prague.

Even though its first trial was unfortunately nipped in the bud, the power of Gangwon-do is still alive. Pyeongchang, which is even very difficult for foreigners to pronounce, will eventually leave its mark on the map of world.

“We surprised the world first and Korea second. This means that it was more difficult to make Koreans support us than other people in other countries. This was a process in complete isolation. However, we believe that this time is different from the past because we believe that all Korean people will support us in unity. We will never face failure again.”

Governor Kim carefully predicted the path of race by saying, “I think Pyeongchang and Salzburg (Austria), which took second and third place in Prague, will be the most likely winner at the 2007 IOC general meeting to be held in Guatemala.

To see the Winter Olympic Games being held in Pyeongchang, Kim has moved throughout the world, the equivalent distance of seven and half circuits of the earth.

“My passion is, of course, rooted in my love for Gangwon-do. However, this is not a whole. If we hold the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Korea will become the seventh country in the world that has held two different kinds of Olympic Games. As a result, the nation’s image will be enhanced which, I believe, will contribute to laying down a the steppingstone for the nation’s unification in the future.”

Kim has found a new plan recently. “In 2014 when the games are held in Pyeongchang, Kim plans to work as a voluntary worker after retiring from his position.”

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com