The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission completed their site inspection of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games bid Friday and held additional meetings with the bid committee Saturday morning to complete their official agenda in South Korea.
Final press conferences with the IOC and bid committee were held Saturday afternoon.
“We have witnessed a strong level of support that the bid enjoys; this was highlighted by the presence of President Lee and Prime Minister Kim” Evaluation Commission Chairperson Gunilla Lindberg said.
“During our site visit it has been wonderful to see so many people showing their support.
“We have seen great progress in the bid from the previous two bids.”
Yang Ho Cho, CEO of PyeongChang 2018 spoke very positively of the IOC’s visit.
“I am delighted with how the visit has gone and very proud of our bid team who have been magnificent throughout.
“For me, the highlight has been the passionate support for the bid shown by the Korean people who have come out in the tens of thousands to greet the Evaluation Commission.
“What [the IOC] were most impressed about was probably the strong support and engagement shown by the residents of Gangwon Province, especially the choir performance organized by the 2018 choir members in the Gangneung Skating Rink.”
Special Ambassador Jin-Sun Kim, the former Governor of Gangwon province who led PyeongChang’s previous two bids, commented on the bid’s progress.
“The Alpensia resort is the result of our aspiration to develop a top-notch resort … and we were able to have this IOC Evaluation right on this resort. During the last IOC evaluation visit we made presentations on an empty field but today, during this evaluation, we able to show this resort. So in some sense we were able to honour our promises.
“We are very proud of this progress” Kim said.
Both the IOC and PyeongChang 2018 downplayed fears about increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula and how they may impact the bid’s chances of victory.
“We have had the situation for the past 60 years in North Korea and during that time Korea has hosted the Olympics Summer Games, the University Games, and The World Athletics Championships this summer” Lindberg remarked when asked about the North Korean threat.
“We think the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games is a force for the good that can also maybe help the situation between the two countries.”
Cho was positive about the situation saying “I believe [the Olympics] will help a lot in making progress [with North Korea]”.
The press conference was well-attended by domestic media who have been following the Evaluation Commission closely this week. Close to 150 members of the press and dozens of photographers were eager to hear the results of the visit.
The IOC members will leave Korea Sunday and are scheduled to begin a site evaluation of Munich March 1. Annecy in France, the third candidate for 2018, was evaluated earlier this month.
A bid evaluation report will be produced based on information in the candidate bid books and data gleaned from this week’s site inspection. The detailed report of all three cities will be released May 10, prior to the election scheduled in Durban, South Africa on July 6.