Successful Winter Youth Olympics strengthens S. Korean reputation as ‘outstanding host’: IOC chief

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said Thursday that South Korea's successful hosting of the Winter Youth Olympic Games further solidified the country's status as "an outstanding host" of Olympics. Bach made the remark at a press conference in Gangneung, some 160 kilometers east of Seoul in Gangwon Province, where the fourth edition of the Winter Youth Games will draw to a conclusion Thursday evening after a two-week run. Bach called Gangwon 2024 "a brilliant success" that served as a "great demonstration of Olympic legacy" of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, held in the same eastern province. Bach cited the reuse of many PyeongChang 2018 facilities during the youth competition as an example, while also pointing to the growth of young winter sports athletes in countries with little winter sports tradition with the help of PyeongChang officials. Bach said the success of the two Winter Olympic Games over the past six years helped South Korea establish itself "as the premium Olymp ic organizer." "You cannot compare the organization of Olympic Games with Youth Olympic Games. It's a very different concept. So both, in their own right, were a resounding success for Korea and for the entire Olympic movement," Bach said at his press conference at the Main Media Centre. "With regard to future organization of Olympic events, I think if Korea is considering this, these brilliant Games here have not only confirmed but have even strengthened the reputation of Korea as an outstanding host, and not only an efficient host but as a country people full of passion for the sport and full of hospitality." The earliest Summer Games that South Korea can host will be in 2036, with Seoul having expressed an interest. The South Korean capital held the 1988 Summer Olympics. The IOC will select the host of the 2030 Winter Olympics in July this year, leaving the 2034 competition as the next one available for any future host cities. If South Korea were ever interested in hosting another Olympics, Bach said th e IOC will always have its doors open. "We are aware of some considerations to host in the future again, the Olympic Games. And maybe Olympic Games mean Summer Games in this respect," Bach said. "We can only say Korea as a host is always very well appreciated but it's, first of all, in the hands of our Korean friends to take all the developments into consideration and then to take a decision whether they want to apply to be a future host. At the IOC, Korea is always welcome and even more so after Gangwon 2024." Source: Yonhap News Agency