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Competition for IOC Membership Intensifies

Posted February. 01, 2008 08:06,   


More and more figures in the South Korean soccer community are making bids to become an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.

Following President Cho Jeong-won of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) who applied for membership in December 2007 as a representative of an international sports federations, Taekwondo gold-medalist from the 2004 Athens Olympics Mun Dae-seong (professor at Dong-A University) also announced that he would run for an IOC Athletes` Commission member, abandoning the dream of two consecutive Olympic victories.

On Jan. 24, 30 female Olympic medalists recommended President Lee Elisa of the Taeneung Athletes Village as an IOC member representing the Korean National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Some also say that Chung Mong-joon, vice president of FIFA and president of the Korea Football Association, and Chairman Kang Yeong-jung of the International Badminton Federation are also running for the IOC.

The power game for IOC membership is becoming intense among sports figures.

Since Park Yong-sung, chairman of the Board at Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, resigned his position as chairman of the International Judo Federation along with his place on the IOC in September 2007, Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee remains the only Korean on the IOC.

▽ Hurdles for IOC Membership

Chairman Cho and Mun Dae-seong presented the “Revitalization of the National Martial Arts Taekwondo,” and President Lee, “the first female sports leader in South Korea” as slogans.

Chairman Chung, who exercises the greatest influence in the soccer community, is also equipped with political power as the Supreme Council member of the Grand National Party. For him to become an IOC member, which includes being the head of an athletic organization, he has to wait until 2010 when the term of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter expires. Therefore many in the athletic community say that Chairman Chung will likely try to enter the IOC as a representative from the NOC.

▽ Outlook

The increase in the number of sports figures bidding for IOC membership will likely bring about a variety of results for bidders. It is the practice of the IOC not to allot several positions to one country.

IOC President Jacques Rogge recently announced that he would select IOC members mainly among representatives of international sports federations. This makes the situation favorable for bidders who hold titles as head of an international athletic organization.

In the case of Chairman Cho, if he is selected, it is likely that President Lee will have to give up on her dream, or vice versa. The selection of Mun Dae-seong as an IOC Athletes` Commission member will have less of an effect on other bidders.

The IOC Athletes` Commissioner will be decided among 31 candidates by the 15,000 athletes staying in the Olympic Village during the Beijing Games.