When the Olympic flame arrives in Incheon today, it will mark the symbolic start of the Olympic winter sport season. The season will culminate when the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 begin on 9 February 2018. In only 100 days from today, the best winter sport athletes from across the globe will come together in PyeongChang for exciting competition, amazing the world with their sporting achievements.
The countdown to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 began already last week, when the Olympic flame was lit in the Greek city of ancient Olympia, where the first Olympic Games took place 3,000 years ago. The lighting ceremony paid tribute to the unique gift of the ancient Greeks to humankind: the Olympic Games. When the flame was lit, we connected this noble heritage to the future. From the original birthplace of the Olympic Games, the Olympic flame began its 10,000-kilometre journey to the Republic of Korea and PyeongChang. Today it arrives in Incheon and the Olympic Torch Relay will bring the excitement for the Games to people across the country.
The Olympic Games are of course first and foremost about sports and the athletes. But the Olympic Games also always carry a greater significance for humankind because in our troubled times, they are the only event that brings the world together in peaceful competition. The Olympic Games are always a symbol of hope and peace. The Olympic Games are universal. They stand above and beyond all the differences that divide us. In our fragile world that seems to be drifting apart, the Olympic Games have the power to unite humanity in all its diversity.
This is why the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be inspiring, opening up new horizons and bringing the Olympic spirit to a new generation. This Olympic spirit first came to Korea with the Olympic Games Seoul 1988. Building on this legacy, PyeongChang will connect the youth of the world to the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship, and respect. PyeongChang will connect the passion of the Korean people with the world.
With 100 days to go until the Olympic Winter Games begin, we can say with confidence that everyone can look forward to an amazing experience. Thanks to the excellent work of the Organising Committee and Korean government, the preparations are on track. The Olympic Torch Relay will spread the Olympic spirit to all corners of the country, building the anticipation and enthusiasm wherever it goes. Hosting the Olympic Games is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. PyeongChang 2018 will be a moment for you to connect the ancient tradition of the Olympic Games to the future. PyeongChang 2018 will be a moment for the Olympic spirit to inspire the world. When the world comes together in PyeongChang, it will be your moment to shine.
Article published on 1 November in the Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily.