Busan mayor Hur Nam-shik told reporters at a press conference the announcement that Busan is bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games was not a move to place a damper on PyeongChang’s third bid for the Winter Games. He said, “we are not out to place a hurdle in front of PyeongChang’s chances”.
The Mayor said “we want fair judgement from the government and the KOC (Korea Olympic Committee). PyeongChang has had two previous attempts and were both unsuccessful. We’ve conceded our bidding chances long enough – this is our chance”.
Busan says it opted out of subsequent bids when it failed to gain the KOC’s support for its bids in 1996 and 2008, reports the Korea Herald. It wanted to give PyeongChang a chance for the 2014 Winter Games. But now Busan officials feel PyeongChang’s 2018 bid will be nearly impossible.
Hur said, “when I say this, I mean no offence to the city of PyeongChang, but there has never been a city which had been given hosting rights after three attempts in the Olympic bidding history since the World War two. That illustrates the lack of possibility that a third will be successful”.
Hur talked about Busan’s geographical advantages and experience hosting international sporting events such as the 2002 Asian Games. He said, “we have the infrastructure, the international recognition, and the experience that PyeongChang lacks. We also have a geographical advantage with our neighbouring cities which boast convenient transportation and access to stadiums and facilities”.
When asked about a joint Summer and Winter Games bid with PyeongChang, the Mayor said, “it is possible for two cities to apply for both the Summer and Winter Games, but whether or not there’s a realistic possibility of such a move being successful is not only unfeasible but downright irrational. Such a thing is allowed, but why risk having two failures”.
Park In-ho, Chairman to the Busan citizen council, called PyeongChang’s previous bids “admirable failures” and that the Korea Olympic Committee was unfairly providing its support in a lopsided effort, ignoring Busan completely.
He said, “the KOC is being unfair to us. For the longest time we’ve been preparing to gain the government’s support for our Summer Games bid and we’ve sat and waited for PyeongChang to succeed in their bids”. He added, “it’s our turn now”.