November 21 - Thomas Bach has spoken of his confidence in Pyeongchang's ability to deliver a "great Games" in 2018 as he made his first visit to South Korea as International Olympic Committee (IOC) President today.
The German, elected to replace the outgoing Jacques Rogge in September, led an IOC delegation to the Organising Committee's Seoul office to meet with Pyeongchang 2018 President and chief executive J S Kim, Korean Olympic Committee leader Kim Jung-haeng, and Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon.
Bach and his party, comprising Pyeongchang 2018 Coordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg, IOC director general Christophe De Kepper and Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli, as well as South Korean IOC member Moon Daesung, also met Mayors of the host and venue cities, including Choi Myung-hee of Gangneung, Lee Seok-rae of Pyeongchang and Choi Seung-jun of Jeongseon.
Pyeongchang 2018 boss Kim presented Bach with an "appreciation plaque", and said his visit "clearly demonstrates his special attention and commitment to the Republic of Korea and Pyeongchang 2018 in particular".
The IOC delegation was also briefed on the progress of Pyeongchang's preparations for the Olympics, and Bach made a speech to the Organising Committee noting that the South Korean city will receive a "new boost" come the conclusion of the next Winter Games, taking place in Sochi in February 2014.
"When the Olympic Flag will be handed over to Pyeongchang in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the eyes of the world will be on you," he said.
"From this moment on, you will know that the Olympic Flag belongs to you and the Olympic spirit will grow even more all over Korea.
"We are really very confident that you will deliver the great Games to Korea and to the world."
Bach also paid a visit to South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, who welcomed the Olympic Movement leader and said she believes the sports world has high expectations of him as the ninth IOC President because of his past Olympic career, which includes winning a fencing gold at the Montreal 1976 Games.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
June 2013: Pyeongchang 2018 "giving its all to Olympians" says IOC Coordination Commission after second visit
February 2013: Pyeongchang 2018 on "right track" declares Rogge after first visit