2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games Awarded to Korea

(ATR) Gangwon Province wins the right to host, strengthening the legacy of PyeongChang 2018.

(ATR) Gangwon Province wins the right to host the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games, strengthening the legacy of PyeongChang 2018.

The IOC voted in favor of Gangwon 2024 by a 79-2 margin. There were no other candidates put forward under the IOC's new bidding process.

The fourth edition of the Winter YOG will be the first staged in Asia, following three editions in Europe.

Gangwon 2024 aims to establish its own identity following the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. However, the legacy of Korea’s Winter Games will be strengthened by using all existing venues other than the Jeongseon Alpine Center.

South Korea NOC president Lee Kee-Heung led a delegation of eight representatives presenting the concept and masterplan to the IOC during the 135th Session in Lausanne on Friday.

"Gangwon 2024 will promote winter sport and peace in Korea and beyond," Lee said. "We want to continue the legacy of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and help spread the dynamic energy of the Youth Olympic Games throughout the country to inspire future generation."

IOC president Thomas Bach commended the successful bid and diligence of the Korean sport leaders and politicians.

"It will be a great opportunity to enhance and support the legacy of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on both the hardware side, in regards to using the infrastructure of PyeongChang 2018, but also on the soft side to carry on and reignite the passion of the young generation of Korea in winter sports," Bach said at a news conference following the approval of the bid.

The idea behind the Gangwon 2024 bid was established between the Korean officials and IOC in July during the FINA World Championship in Gwangju.

"You see what can be accomplished in five months if you have the passion and determination," Bach said. "This is really an outstanding success."

"It is also a success for the new election procedure of the IOC, this reform, because we just adopted this procedure six months ago here in Lausanne," Bach said. "We appointed the commission only in October and we can now celebrate the election of the host city of these Winter Youth Olympic Games."

Octavian Morariu, who chairs the Future Winter HostCommission appointed in October, explains the IOC’s overwhelming support in favor of the return ofWinter Games to Korea.

"I think this new approach shows how deeply the paradigm has changed," Morariu said. "It’s about interacting with the potential host and flexibility and ability to maximize these opportunities and goals of the host, the local communities and the legacy for the youth.

"It’s a perfect example of how the whole approach has changed," he said. "It shows the evolution of this process."

The Romanian IOC member Morariu also informed that the co-creation phase, where additional plans and details will be discussed between the commission and host city, will move forward until October 2020.

Bach and Gangwon 2024 delegation members leave open the possibility that the Winter YOG could be a joint organization with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea if political conditions permit.

"If circumstances allow, the Korean delegation is willing to have the DPRK on board in the organization of the 2024 Youth Olympics," said Yang-Woo Park, Korean minister of culture, sport and tourism. "I fully agree with this idea of co-hosting the Winter Youth Olympic Games."

"From the very beginning, the idea was part of our approach that we would be ready to accept the National Olympic Committee of the DPRK as a partner of the organization if the circumstances, and in particular, the political circumstances, will hopefully develop," Bach said.

"Gangwon 2024 will be prepared to contribute to the advancement of the Olympic spirit and vision of the IOC in promoting peace and harmony," Park said.

Representing Korean youth, a student among the Gangwon 2024 delegation noted that the three themes of the Games will be creating peace, creating friendship and creating fun.

The preliminary budget is estimated at $45 million, with the IOC contributing $25 million in support, in addition to covering travel of the NOCs.

Gangwon 2024’s slogan is "Let’s Make it Together" perhaps foreshadowing cooperation with neighboring North Korea.

Written and reported by Brian Pinelli in Lausanne

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