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Cheer Up, Pyeongchang!

Posted July. 06, 2007 03:03,   


“Yes, Pyeongchang!”

In Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala, on the morning of July 5 (Korean time), cries of Korean people repeatedly shouting “Pyeongchang of Gangwon Province” resonated, and large Korean flags dotted the sky hung on balloons of different colors. A hearty round of applause poured in as the Pyeongchang bid committee members arrived at Holiday Inn Hotel, the venue where the winner would be announced.

Nothing seemed different from the scene just before the results came out where Koreans were passionately united to win their bid, except that Korea lost the race.

Pyeongchang, once again, swallowed its bitter tears after failing to overcome the “Iron Curtain.”

Pyeongchang was narrowly defeated by Sochi of Russia in the final ballot to host the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s 199th general meeting held in Guatemala City.

In the first round, 36 out of 97 IOC members voted for Pyeongchang, ranking first among Sochi (34 votes) and Austria’s Salzburg (25 votes), but it didn’t have enough to carry a majority. However, the votes for Salzburg, which was eliminated in the first round, went to Sochi, leading to Korea’s defeat by a total vote count of 47 to 51.

As a result, just like four years ago at the general meeting in Prague where Pyeongchang was a candidate city for the 2010 Winter Games, it was defeated twice in a row.

Han Seung-soo, Chairman of the 2014 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee, Kim Jeong-gil, the head of the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) and Kim Jin-sun, governor of Gangwon Province held a press conference at Holiday Inn Hotel, saying, “We thought Pyeongchang was a likely winner but the result turned out differently. It’s bringing a lump to our throat. We do extend our heartfelt gratitude and apology to Koreans for their passionate support.” They all were in tears, saddening the mood in the room.

Up until now, as soon as Pyeongchang failed to host the 2010 Games, it realigned its organization to prepare for hosting the Olympic Winter Games. The KOC head, Kim Jeong-gil even voluntarily stepped down from a candidate IOC member position in April, putting all his effort in the bid for the Games. Two IOC members, Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee and Doosan Group Chairman Park Yong-sung did their utmost for it on the corporate stage.

Pyeongchang lost the race again, but the real “winner” was the Pyeongchang that united the whole nation.

Meanwhile, at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, about 250 members of the 2014 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee will return to Korea at 3:40 a.m. on July 6 via a special chartered flight on Korean Air. The flight will stop in Vancouver in Canada to be refueled and arrive at Incheon Airport at 10:45 p.m. on July 6.