Sports officials in South Korea announced Tuesday that they are organizing a bid to host the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics across Gangwon Province, leveraging venues and facilities that were used to stage the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games.
At a briefing where legacy plans for three remaining Olympic venues were unveiled, Gangwon Governor Choi Moon-soon said the region has submitted a letter of interest to the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC).
“If we bring the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics to Gangwon, it will help revitalize the local economy,” Choi said according to Yonhap News Agency.
“And it will also ensure balanced growth across Gangwon Province and help raise the profile of the country as much as the PyeongChang Winter Olympics did.”
The KSOC plans to visit facilities in the province in October, hoping to submit a formal application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before the end of the year.
Officials had struggled to find a feasible post-Games plan for the Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Hockey Centre and PyeongChang’s Sliding Centre – all currently running at a financial loss – but Choi revealed the venues will now be used to host conventions and sports and cultural events.
Many other Olympic venues continue to host sports competitions and could be available to support the needs of a Youth Olympics. Choi also hopes to involve North Korea in plans, potentially as a host for ski events at the Masikryong Resort.
Plans for the Youth Olympics have emerged as South Korea embarks on a controversial campaign to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics with North Korea. The IOC restructured the Olympic bid process in June and both bids will liaise with new “future Games commissions” that are designed to vet and approve projects before they can face an IOC Session for a final vote.
There are now no set timelines to elect host cities but it is expected that the 2024 Youth Olympics will be sited soon with less than five years to go until the event. IOC officials have indicated a city could be chosen at the 2020 Session to be held in Tokyo ahead of the Olympics.
The 2020 edition of the Games organized for athletes between 14 and 18 years is set for Lausanne, Switzerland in February. The Inaugural Winter Youth Olympics were hosted in Innsbruck in 2012 and Lillehammer welcomed the 2016 event.
In March, Romanian officials signed a letter of intent to put forward Brașov as a candidate for the 2024 Games after the city was soundly defeated in its 2020 bid against Lausanne after a decisive 71-10 vote. The IOC praised Brașov’s plans for its use of temporary facilities and existing transport infrastructure.
Gangwon could also face a Bulgarian rival as capital Sofia has discussed entering the race.