POSTED: February 19th 2011

Lindberg talks up PyeongChang progress as IOC checks out

The IOC's Gunilla Lindberg and Gilbert Felli t the closing press conference / lake images
The IOC's Gunilla Lindberg and Gilbert Felli t the closing press conference / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE in PyeongChang / Sports Features Communications

PYEONGCHANG, S Korea: The great strides made by PyeongChang since it first bid to host the Winter Olympics were picked out by Gunilla Lindberg as the IOC evaluation commission wrapped up the second of its three inspections.

First the 14-strong IOC team visited Annecy, now it has ticked the Korean box and it will resume and conclude its work in Munich at the start of March.

Evaluation chair Lindberg was more forthcoming in her concluding press conference than she had been in Annecy. She also had tacitly positive indications about the IOC's sentiment concerning the perpetual issue of relations between two Koreas.

Concerning facilities, she said: “We have seen great progress from the previous two bids [for 2010 and 2014] and seen strong governmental support shown by the visits of President Lee and other ministers for this bid. Now there is a Nordic centre, the sky jump stadium and a new concept for the ice venues.

“Also we have seen progress in Korean winter sport in the last years . . . Korea took four medals in Salt lake and 14 in Vancouver so that is already progress. With this winter sports centre I’m sure it will mean more progress for Korea in winter sports.

“We also saw the initiative of the Dream Programme fulfilled from previous bids; it was great to see the children from all over the world practising winter sport.”

Longest ceasefire

An inevitable question – commission members had raised it too – concerned the uncertain state of relations between the two Koreans which remain, officially, in a state of war 60 years after agreeing the longest ceasefire in modern military history.

 Lindberg suggested this would not affect the status of PyeongChang’s bid. She did not commit herself that far in words but the sentiment was left hanging in the air by her comment: “We have had this situation for the last 60 years and during that time [South] Korea has hosted the Olympic summer Games, the University Games, will host the World Athletics Championships this summer and will also be host for the Asian Games in a couple of years’ time.”

In a further encouraging aside, she added: “We think that the Olympic movement and sports events are a force for good that can maybe also help the situation between countries.”

The evaluation commission's report will be published on May 10 ahead of the IOC members' briefing on the three bids in Lausanne on May 18 and 19 and the decisive vote in Durban on July 6.

Keywords · IOC · evaluation commission · Lindberg · PyeongChang

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