POSTED: December 28th 2014
InDepth

PyeongChang 2018: President Yang-Ho Cho marks 150 active days at the helm of POCOG

South Korean President Geun-Hye Park visited PyeongChang in October for a four year assessment and to reiterate the government's support / Blue House - Cheong Wa Dae
South Korean President Geun-Hye Park visited PyeongChang in October for a four year assessment and to reiterate the government's support / Blue House - Cheong Wa Dae

Yang-Ho Cho took up the leadership in August and started off with briefings on the state of affairs of the preparations / POCOG
Yang-Ho Cho took up the leadership in August and started off with briefings on the state of affairs of the preparations / POCOG

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) can reflect back on a number of accomplishments since the President Yang-Ho Cho took office in August as he marks his 150th day as the leader of the Games.

After taking over from former Games’ chief Jin-Sun Kim at the end of July, Cho started his term as President by carrying out an extensive tour of the venues and personally visiting the venue sites. In order to be brought up to speed on the preparations he was briefed on all the key areas such as transport, accommodations, sports and technology.

POCOG released a statement emphasizing that gaining new sponsorships, expediting venue preparations and other key areas such as transportation are high on his priority list.

Cho also serves as head of the Hanjin Group, a holding company that includes a shipping company, Hanjin Shipping, and Korean Air, Korea’s premier airlines.

SportsFeatures.com looks back over the first 150 days  in office as we get ready to welcome 2015.

Meetings at the Nanjing YOG

In August Cho took advantage of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) taking place in Nanjing to personally meet with Gunilla Lindberg, the Chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the PyeongChang 2018 Games, as well as Gilbert Felli, IOC Olympic Games Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director Christophe Dubi to discuss the close collaboration between the IOC and POCOG.

Cho said in a statement, “The meeting was a good opportunity to discuss the progress of Games preparation as well as review key issues of importance. We have a long road ahead, but I am committed to the success of the Olympic Games in PyeongChang and will work closely with the IOC to ensure success.”

IOC Visit to the Blue House

Then in September, a key meeting took place as IOC President Thomas Bach, IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg, and Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi visited Seoul to sit down with President Cho in the Host Nation and he accompanied them to the Blue House to meet with South Korean President Geun-Hye Park.

President Park assured IOC President Bach and the elite level team of her own personal desire and her Government’s assurances to work towards making PyeongChang 2018 a success.

Incheon 2014 Asian Games Meetings 

During the Incheon 2014 Asian Games, Cho hosted a power lunch to gather together with the IOC echelon and the major stakeholders involved with PyeongChang 2018, including Jung-haeng Kim, President of the Korean Olympic Committee, Jong-deok Kim, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Gangwon Governor Moon-soon Choi, and the Chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries, Chang Soo Huh.

AIPS Recognition

International Sports Press Association (AIPS) President Gianni Merlo awarded POCOG President and Hanjin Group Chairman Cho an appreciative plaque during the Incheon Asiad in recognition of his work to promote global athletic events and sport.

OCA Presentation

Cho led a delegation to make a presentation at the General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) about preparations for PyeongChang 2018 and the boost that holding the Winter Games is for Asian sport.

Norwegian Lawmakers Visit

Also in September, a team of Norwegian lawmakers traveled to PyeongChang to meet with POCOG for a briefing on hosting the Winter Games in relation to the Oslo 2022 bid.

Great Britian NOC Visits

The British Olympic Association (BOA) made an onsite visit to PyeongChang to further their work on team planning for the 2018 Games.

PyeongChang’s “compact venue concept” impressed the BOA delegation, which was surprised to see the effectiveness of having all venues – including the existing venues being utilised by PyeongChang 2018 – located within a 30-minute drive to the main stadium in PyeongChang.

Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers Official Supplier

In October POCOG announced that Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers has officially signed on as an official supplier for the accounting services category for the winter Games.

All Six New Venues are Under Construction

Ground was broken on the speed skating facility, the last of the six venues that are set to be built for the Olympics. This brings all the newly constructed venues into a phase of construction. This facility in the Gangneung Coastal Cluster and is targeted to be completed in January 2017 in time for a test event the month after. All other five venues are expected to be completed by November 2016.

South Korean President Park Visits PyeongChang 

Late October President Cho and a top level delegation comprised of POCOG managers and staff, the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC), and government officials welcomed South Korean President, Geun-hye Park, who paid a personal visit to the Alpensia Resort in Gangwon Province in order to carry out a half-way point assessment on the status of the preparations for the Games four years out.

Present were Culture Minister Jong-deok Kim, Gangwon-do Administrative Vice Governor Jeong-sam Kim, National Assembly members Yeom Dong-yeol and Kwon Seong-dong, Korean Olympic Committee President Jung-haeng Kim, Korea Paralympic Committee President Sung-il Kim, POCOG staff, Alpensia Resort staff and representatives of the construction companies involved with the preparations.

President Park reiterated her sincere commitment for strengthening government-wide support emphasizing that hosting the winter Olympic Games would be a world level showcase for the nation. The Blue House sustained in a statement that staging the Olympics in South Korea will enhance the international prestige of the country and most importantly allow for the development of Gangwon Province as a tourism destination and as a renowned winter sports hub in Asia.

“The successful hosting of the Seoul Olympics in 1988 helped Korea open a path of communication with the world. The PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018, 30 years after the Seoul Olympics, will offer a great opportunity to promote Korea in the international community as an advanced country,” said President Park, stressing the meaning of the upcoming Games.

“In three years’ time, the world will turn to PyeongChang. Once again, we need to gather our willpower for the success of the Games.

“We need to improve the tourism resources in Gangwon Province, such as its beaches and mountains, in order to make the games the best Olympics ever. I hope the games will be remembered as memorable, so that people would visit again.

“We need to provide more support to curling, skiing and the bobsleigh, as these are less popular sport disciplines in Korea,” she concluded and called for the organizing committee to take stronger interest in offering more support to athletes so that they can fully display their capabilities.

POCOG officials attended a workshop on October 31st in Seoul in conjunction with Korea's top airline, Korean Air. The committee members enjoyed the sharing of Olympic knowledge, learning global etiquette, and got a chance to tour the catering facilities of Korean Air at the workshop sessions. This is all to prepare for a complex and diverse international event.

Yuna Kim made Games' Ambassador

In November, superstar Gold and Silver Medal figure skater Yuna Kim officially signed on with POCOG taking a high profile role to promote the PyeongChang Winter Games. As a skating sensation and mentor for millions of aspiring athletes, Kim will be front and center to lend her star power to the first Korean Winter Games engaging the public as she participates in major domestic and international events. She will be a major draw for marketing efforts for Games’ branded merchandise sales.

ANOC Presentation

President Cho led an elite level team to attend the Bangkok ANOC General Assembly in early November to update the national Olympic committees (NOCs) on the progress and preparations of PyeongChang 2018.

Russian NOC Visit

Former Host Nation Russia send over a team of delegates to inspect the PyeongChang facilities and the Russians proclaimed that they were more excited than ever at what they saw.

"I am very impressed by the fact that from the Alpensia zone, all the competition venues and Olympic Villages can be reached within 30 minutes," stated Georgy Mnatsakanov, Head of Department at the Russian Olympic Committee. 

Muchol Shin, POCOG Director General of Communications and PR said, "We are actively informing the NOCs about our plans to best support their athletes, and at the same time we are gathering advice from each team in order to make the 2018 Olympic Winter Games the most athlete-oriented and Games-oriented."

Olympic Agenda 2020

In December the IOC resoundingly approved Olympic Agenda 2020 in Monaco at the Extraordinary Session allowing for a number of major changes to be made available for future Games organizers.

While Tokyo 2020 is about five years out of preparations it is easier to make changes to the venue plan. However PyeongChang is in a different phase with their preparations and even though suggestions were mentioned in the press of a change of venues the reality is that POCOG already has contracts in place for all the facilities.

POCOG President Cho issued a statement after meetings with POCOG executives upon return from Monaco and clarified “the recently approved ‘Olympic Agenda 2020’ offer an effective and progressive opportunity for the future of the Olympic Movement, and we highly appreciate the International Olympic Committee’s drive to implement changes.” But with regards to its application to the 2018 Winter Games, “it will be difficult to apply those recommendations to our plans at this stage, given that construction for all competition venues is already in progress.”

It has been a busy 150 days for President Cho and in the coming of the New Year, the next point on the POCOG Agenda will be the IOC Project Review scheduled for January 15 and 16 next month.


Keywords · PyeongChang 2018 Olympics · Yang Ho Cho · Geun Hye Park · President of Korea · IOC · Thomas Bach · Gunilla Lindberg · Korean Air


For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()


All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.