South Korea’s Seoul has been elected as the nation’s nomination to jointly bid for the 2032 Olympic Games with North Korea.
At its General Assembly held at the National Training Center in Jincheon Monday, the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) chose the capital over its only rival to submit a bid – the Southern Port City Busan. According to Yonhap, Seoul defeated the second most populous city in South Korea by a vote of 34 to 15.
In a last ditch effort to save its bid, Busan reportedly proposed to co-host with Seoul but ultimately the KSOC rejected the idea to hold events between cities 450 km apart, and with North Korea. Both cities were inspected from January 23 to 25 as part of the campaign process, and Friday (February 15) the KSOC will submit the proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at a tripartite meeting with North Korean officials and the IOC at the latter’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
North Korea hasn’t officially named its proposed host city but capital Pyongyang is the only city with infrastructure capable of supporting the event.
Seoul hosted South Korea’s only Summer Games in 1988, and PyeongChang staged the nation’s first Winter Games in PyeongChang last year. North Korea has yet to bid for, or host an Olympic event.
The idea for the two Koreas to jointly bid for the Games was sparked by the PyeongChang 2018 Games where the two at-war nations marched into the Olympic Stadium as a unified team. Talks for joint cooperation at future major sports events were subsequently held by national leaders.
Ultimately South Korean President Jae-in Moon and North Korean leader Jong-un Kim agreed to pursue a joint bid for the Games at a summit held in Pyongyang last September.
A Korean Peninsula Olympic bid is still considered a long-shot to win the IOC vote as the North will face many hurdles to prepare for an event that has strict visa eligibility requirements and even tougher rules regarding human rights in the host nation.
Last week IOC President Thomas Bach said “in a couple of days we will meet the two Governments and the two National Olympic Committees to see how the IOC can contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world.”
The 2032 edition became the next available Summer Games to host after both Paris and Los Angeles were awarded the 2024 and 2028 Olympics with an unprecedented double allocation in 2017. The IOC is expected to choose the 2032 host city in 2025.
As many as eight other cities and countries have expressed interest in bidding for the 2032 Games including Jakarta in Indonesia, Shanghai in China, Brisbane in Australia, Buenos Aires in Argentina, as well as India, Germany, Russia and Egypt.