Posted : 2013-11-21 19:35
Updated : 2013-11-21 19:35

IOC satisfied with PyeongChang prep

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach bows to President Park Geun-hye during his visit to Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul, Thursday. Bach is on the last leg of a trip to cities in Asia. / Yonhap

By Jung Min-ho

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), spoke highly of the preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, at a news conference in Seoul, Thursday.

"After the Sochi Olympics, the eyes of the world will be on you," said Bach, who was elected to succeed Jacques Rogge as head of the IOC in September.

During his first visit to Korea since he became IOC president, Bach, the 1976 Montreal fencing gold medalist, was briefed by the PyeongChang Organizing Committee headquartered in Seoul.

"We are very satisfied with progress made by the PyeongChang Organizing Committee," he said. "We want to congratulate you for what you have achieved so far. You are a great team. You give us great hope for the 2018 Games."

Bach said the IOC will try its best to ensure the success of the first Winter Games in Korea.

"We can assure you the IOC will always be on your side. And we are very confident that you will deliver a great Games to Korea and the world," he said. "Don't hesitate to ask us for advice … we can make a great success."

There will be more opportunities for the organizers and IOC once the Sochi Games are over, Bach added.

"When the Olympic flag is handed over to PyeongChang, you will feel great expectations and great encouragement," he said.

Bach said hosting the PyeongChang Olympics will have a great impact on millions of people in Asia.

"We appreciate so much that Asia is embracing sports. Asia has been giving the sports world a new boost by organizing big events," he said.

"You're setting an example for the expansion of winter sports to Korea and to Asia. You will give opportunities to millions of people to get closer to winter sports.

"Asia has really got the people closer to sports as they realize how sports can contribute to the development of society, how sports can help with regard to education and how emotional sports can unite nations."

Bach said the IOC is also trying to spread the Olympic movement to young people in order to encourage them to participate in sports beyond consuming sports as viewers or computer game players.

"It is a joy of life," he said. "We'd like to teach them how to play sports and how sports can do for their lives."

On a different note, Bach said Sochi will have the "toughest doping test" ever for the Winter Games, noting the IOC will have "no tolerance" of illegal drug use.

The message is expected to affect the PyeongChang Organizing Committee in terms of policy-making for the issue.

Before he became the IOC president, Bach led the German Olympic Sports Confederation.

관련 한글 기사

바흐 IOC 위원장 "평창 올림픽 성공 개최 확신"

토마스 바흐(60·독일) 국제올림픽위원회(IOC) 위원장이 2018년 평창 동계올림픽의 성공적인 개최를 낙관했다.

20일 방한한 바흐 위원장은 21일 서울 중구 평창동계올림픽 조직위원회 사무실에서 기자간담회를 갖고 '지금까지 대회 준비 상황에 대해 만족한다'며 '올림픽이 성공적으로 열릴 것이라는 것에 대해 자신감이 생겼다'고 말했다.

바흐 위원장은 '2014년 소치 올림픽 폐회식에서 오륜기가 평창에 전달되고 나면 대회 준비에 더 탄력이 붙을 것'이라며 '앞으로 전 세계가 평창에 주목할 것이라고 본다'고 전망했다.

그는 2018년 평창 동계올림픽이 남북관계에 미칠 영향에 대해 '스포츠의 역할은 항상 대화를 유지하도록 하는 것'이라며 '독일 역시 분단국이었기 때문에 이것이 한국에 어떤 의미가 있는지 잘 알고 있다'고 답했다.

바흐 위원장은 '대화를 이어가고 서로 이해의 폭을 넓히는 데 스포츠의 역할이 크다'고 덧붙였다.

약물 문제에 대해 그는 '소치 올림픽에서는 2010년 밴쿠버 동계올림픽에 비해 사전 테스트를 57% 늘릴 계획'이라며 '도핑 방지 프로그램을 소치에서 가장 강력하게 진행할 것'이라고 밝혔다.

그는 '검사의 양만 늘리는 것이 아니라 수준도 크게 높일 예정'이라고 강조했다.

바흐 위원장은 기자간담회에 앞서 평창 조직위 임직원을 대상으로 약 15분간 강연했다.

한국어로 '안녕하세요'라고 인사한 바흐 위원장은 '평창 올림픽은 올림픽 정신이 생동감 넘치게 전 세계에 퍼지는 계기가 될 것'이라고 덕담을 건넸다.

바흐 위원장은 김경호 한국체육기자연맹 회장의 인사말을 듣고 나서도 '감사합니다'라고 한국어로 답하는 등 짧은 방한 일정에도 한국어 인사말을 익힌 모습을 보이기도 했다.

바흐 위원장은 이날 오후 이탈리아 로마로 출국한다.

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