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Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to open in 200 days

Posted July. 24, 2017 07:33,   

Updated July. 24, 2017 07:44

한국어

The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will open in 200 days from today. The upcoming sports event comes as the first of its kind since the 1988 Seoul Olympics three decades ago, and a precious one earned after three bids under the slogan of "Passion. Connected." Still, the event remains neglected in Korea, let alone the expectations and passion for the festival. Therefore, it is time to recollect our efforts once more towards the goal of a successful opening by tapping into the excitement gained six years ago when the government, localities, and the public became one to attract this Winter Olympics.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics can offer a valuable momentum for Korea to take the nation to the next level by converging sports, information and communications and technology (ICT), and tourism, just as the Seoul Olympics did when the event improved our life and culture. The most important thing to do is to secure enough budget to deal with the increased number of gold medals; over 100 for the first time in the history of Winter Olympics. The Organizing Committee estimates a total of 2.8 trillion won of budget when excluding infrastructure construction costs. However, it is currently allotted with only 2.5 trillion won. While the Committee managed to secure an additional 55.7 billion won from the revised supplementary budget, deficit seems to be inevitable. What's more, sponsorship from businesses will be a difficult task, as they are still mired in the aftermath from the intervention of national affairs by Choi Soon-sil.

The final resolution would be "social contributions" from the public sector, including Korea Electric Power Corporation and Kangwon Land Casino. In addition, more discussions from the government and the National Assembly should be made to give tax benefits for corporates willing to sponsor the event. Furthermore, a temporary issuance of lottery can be considered by Sports Toto. Active attendance of games will also balance the budget, as the success of international sports events is greatly dependent on public support.

Unlike the indifference shown to Pyeongchang, expectations on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are very high in Japan. With an estimated economic benefit set at 308 trillion won, both Japanese central and local governments are all in for a seamless operation of the event. In the short term, international sports events such as Olympics may seem to be a losing business, but they can also become profitable projects once prepared and implemented with closely coordinated efforts. According to Hyundai Research Institute, Korea can enjoy over 64 trillion won worth economic benefits such as improved national status after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The upcoming sports event will be the first runner leading up to a series of Asian Olympics in Korea, Japan, and China, with the 2020 Tokyo and 2022 Beijing Olympics. Just as we did in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 2002 Korea-Japan World cup, a concerted effort is required under one shared goal. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be a long-awaited opportunity for Korea to show our passion and unleash our potentials.



mskoh119@donga.com