Following three days of meetings and visits, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge concluded his visit to the Republic of Korea today by awarding the Olympic Order in gold to the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-Bak.
The ceremony followed the presentation of the Order of Sport Merit by President Lee to Rogge. The IOC President was leading a delegation which included Gunilla Lindberg, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games; Christophe De Kepper, the IOC Director General; and Gilbert Felli, the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director. The IOC team also met with President-elect Park Geun-Hye before its visit to the Blue House. These two high-profile meetings rounded up a trip that had already seen Rogge sign the Marketing Plan Agreement with PyeongChang 2018 (POCOG), visit the new Korean National Training Centre, and see firsthand the venues for the 2018 Games.
Speaking at the end of his visit, Rogge said: “Sport in Korea is clearly a national priority. The support from the highest levels of government is clear, the National Olympic Committee is investing heavily in the future of its athletes, and the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee is progressing well in its preparations for the Games. We have been very impressed with what we have seen this week and wish Korea much success in its various sporting endeavours.”
Rogge’s visit began with the signing of the Marketing Plan Agreement with President Kim of POCOG. This agreement allows the Organising Committee to start its commercial programme within Korea. There then followed a visit to the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC)’s new state-of-the-art National Training Centre in Jincheon, where the IOC delegation inspected the facilities and heard from KOC President Park about how the centre was helping to train the nation’s top athletes.
Before returning to Seoul for the meeting with President Lee, Rogge visited the 2018 host city of PyeongChang for the first time. While there, he saw where the different ice venues would be situated in the city of Gangneung and then had the opportunity to visit some of the 2018 venues, including curling, ski jumping, Alpine technical, and snowboard and freestyle. The delegation also saw some of the venues in full operational mode, as the Special Olympics are currently being held in the area.