Former Manchester United star Ji-Sung Park is the latest Korean sporting icon to be announced as an Honorary Ambassador for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang.
The former Republic of Korea international midfielder was unveiled during a special signing ceremony in Seoul. Now living in Great Britain, Park was in town for a few days to attend an annual football tournament for children under 12 years old, which is organised by his own non-profit organisation, JS Foundation, and which is taking place in the Olympic Winter Games host city PyeongChang.
Park is an Olympian himself, having represented the Republic of Korea in the football tournament at Sydney 2000. “My memories of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 are very special to me, so I know the importance of the Winter Games for all the athletes who are preparing to take part. I am proud as an athlete and also as a Korean to be supporting PyeongChang 2018, and I am looking forward to supporting a great event next year.”
Park is widely regarded as one of the most successful Asian footballers in history. He won an incredible 19 trophies in his career, and was the first Asian footballer to win the UEFA Champions League title and also the first to win the FIFA Club World Cup.
He began his playing career in the Republic of Korea with Myongji University, before moving to Japan to play for Kyoto Purple Sanga (2000-2003). From there he moved on to play for the famous Dutch Club PSV Eindhoven, before his talents were noticed by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, where he went on to play for seven seasons (2005-2012).
As a member of the Republic of Korea’s national team, he won 100 caps and scored 13 goals. Notably, he was a key member of the squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was co-hosted by the Republic of Korea and Japan. He went on to play at two more World Cups and is the only Asian player to score at three different editions of the tournament.
My memories of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 are very special to me, so I know the importance of the Winter Games for all the athletes who are preparing to take part.JI-SUNG PARK
Having retired from competition in 2014 after a run of injuries, he is now a global ambassador for Manchester United and is also studying sports management at De Montfort University in England.
POCOG President Lee Hee-Beom said: “It is an honour for PyeongChang to have Ji-Sung Park as an honorary ambassador. He is admired not only for his successes on the field, but also for the sportsmanship that he displayed throughout his impressive career. We hope that Park’s many fans will follow in his footsteps and support the Games as well as all the competing athletes.”