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Pyeongchang Bid Committee Chief Interview


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PyeongChang Bid Committee chief playing hard down to the wire

Date: June 26, 2007

With less than 8 days left before the International Olympic Committee votes on the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Korea's PyeongChang is honing in on the final stretch of its bid to host the games.

Hopes are running high for PyeongChang as the city received the best review in a June 5 report assessing the bids of the three candidate cities. The IOC General Assembly will select the 2014 host city by secret ballot on July 4 in Guatemala City.

PyeongChang officials, while pleased, aren't ready to celebrate just yet.

The head of the PyeongChang 2014 Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee Ahn Seong-soo says he is not taking anything for granted and will try everything he can until the last minute.

Ahn, appearing nervous yet excited, recently shared his thoughts on PyeongChang's bid with local media:

Only 8 days are left before you will know if PyeongChang gets to host the 2012 Winter Olympics. How do you feel about that?

I am glad that PyeongChang has been commended for its “excellent†concept for sports venues, and “very high-quality†presentations, but at the same time I can't be at ease because there are always unpredictable factors that can sway votes of the undecided IOC members. If the host city is decided by 100,000 people or more, it can be safe to predict the outcome with positive reviews and all but the host city gets chosen by only 100 people, so it is hard to tell.

What are your plans for last-minute efforts?

When we get to Guatemala City on June 29, we'll try to meet IOC members one-on-one and ask them to support PyeongChang. We'll not make a big fuss when we meet with them but rather stay low-key.

What would you say about PyeongChang's weaknesses and strengths?

The strongest aspect of the city is that its people are so passionate about hosting the event. More than 90 percent of them fervently support PyeongChang's bid. And the city boasts a compact design for facilities where players can move about easily and fast.

However, the fact that Korea is not doing excellent in many winter sports games except for short-track skating may serve as a weakness.

Other than the bid committee members, who are making noticeable efforts to support PyeongChang?

Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, the head of Korea's largest conglomerate, stands out. He left for Central America last week for talks with International Olympic Committee members of five to six countries in Latin America, including Brazil and Guatemala to rally support for PyeongChang's bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The chairman is also a member of the committee.

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