(Editor’s Note. This article first appeared on July 14, 2011. It is of interest to our readers because it deals with the confluence of politics and sport and how the two inevitably interact in the modern world).
July 14 – Pyeongchang will not be allowed to share hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics with North Korea even if a political consensus between the two feuding nations is reached, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge ruled here today.
Rogge, who was attending the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly here, claimed that it would be against the Olympic Charter and they were not prepared to amend it so the Games could be shared.
“The IOC awards the Games to one city in one country,” he said.
“As far as spreading venues between the two countries, that’s something we do not consider under the current Olympic Charter.”
The idea had first been raised by·South Korean opposition leader·Sohn Hak-kyu during a visit to Pyeongchang earlier this week.
But Rogge ensured that the idea will not get off the starting blocks.
“We’re not going to change the Olympic Charter because otherwise you complicate the organisation,” he said.
But Rogge did back the idea of a united Korean team, which is gaining popularity.
A recent poll showed more than half of South Koreans support the idea.
Another idea is for the two Koreans to march together in the Opening Ceremony as they did at Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.
“There could be symbolic actions together like the joint parade or, why not, the participation of a joint team,” said Rogge.
“This is something we could consider and will also have a very symbolic effect.
“But don’t expect the IOC to spread the venues between the two countries.”
Rogge’s appearance in the Japanese capital coincided with a press conference in Seoul where South Korea’s Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug began laying out the early plans for Pyeongchang’s preparations.
These included establishing an Organising Committee within three months, two months sooner than is necessary under the Host City contract that Pyeongchang signed after being chosen ahead of Annecy and Munich at the IOC Session in Durban last week.
“We will all be preparing to successfully host the Winter Games so South Korea can make a new leap as a sports power through the event following its hosting of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted with Japan,” Choung said.
South Korea will also legislate a promised special law to support the event as early as possible and will establish a special Government committee to oversee preparations, Choung said.
He also revealed plans to stage Korean cultural performances featuring both traditional and modern artists at major cities across the world every year from 2012 to 2018, using Pyeongchang 2018 as an opportunity to increase global awareness of Korea.
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