International Ice Hockey Federation

2018 winner is PyeongChang

2018 winner is PyeongChang

After two defeats, Korea finally awarded Winter Olympics

Published 25.10.2017 00:32 GMT+11 | Author IIHF.com
2018 winner is PyeongChang
PyeongChang celebrates the Olympic 2018 allocation. Photo: pyeongchang2018.org
There is joy in Korea and PyeongChang today. It was third time lucky for the Koreans who lost the bids for 2010 and 2014 to Vancouver and Sochi, respectively.

The official voting results: PyeongChang 63, Munich 25, Annecy 7.

PyeongChang lost to Vancouver in 2003 at the IOC session in Prague where they soundly defeated the Canadian bid in the first round, but with Salzburg out of the running, they lost 56-53 in the second round.

It was pretty much the same story four years later in Guatemala City. The Koreans won the first round against Sochi and Salzburg again, but in the final the Russians won the liking of the IOC members; 51-47.

This time, PyeongChang came into the 2018 vote as the undisputed front-runner and they lived up to the prediction. For the first time since Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Winter Games in 1995, a second voting round was not needed.

The Koreans outclassed their rivals Munich and Annecy already in the first round, getting the majority, 63 votes.

Click here for the official PyeongChang presentation on the Olympic website.

Korea is no stranger to organizing the Olympics. But it will be the first time that the country will host the Winter Games. The capital Seoul was host of the Summer Olympics in 1988.

Ice hockey on second tier level, but growing
As far as ice hockey, it will be the first time that Korea will organize a major IIHF event. Korea became IIHF member in 1963 and its national team (men or women) has never been in the top pool of any IIHF World Championship so far.

Since the IIHF World Ranking was introduced in 2004, the Korean men’s team has been ranked 31st on average while the women’s team around 27th in the world.  In the current 2011 IIHF World Ranking the positions are 31 and 28 respectively.

According to the IIHF’s Global Survey of Players and Rinks, Korea had 1607 licensed ice hockey players (124 female) in 2009-2010. The number of indoor rinks is at 36.

Last season, the Korean men’s team played in the Division I Championship in Hungary where they defeated the Netherlands 6-3 and lost to Hungary (6-3), Italy (6-0) and to Spain (3-2 in overtime).

As it is seven years left to the Olympics in 2018, there has not been taken any decision whether the hosting nation will be granted automatic entry to the ice hockey tournaments (men and women). This is TBD.

Prior to the IOC session in Durban, Asia League Ice Hockey (ALH) President Kozo Takano said PyeongChang’s winning the bid for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games could expand the popularity of ice hockey in Asia.

"If PyeongChang wins the Olympic bid, visibility and awareness of ice hockey will certainly be heightened not only in Korea, but throughout Asia. An increasing number of people will be motivated to watch Asia League Ice Hockey games for the first time," Takano told The Korea Times.

IIHF President and IOC executive board member René Fasel told the Associated Press on May 19 that he is eager to promote the sport in Asia.

"It can be expected that several new Korean companies will become interested in having an ice hockey team to take part in the Asian league. The increase in the number of participating teams in the top league should enhance overall playing ability."

ALH is the top ice hockey league in Asia and it includes Korean, Japanese and Chinese teams. Last season, two clubs from Korea, four from Japan and one Chinese entry competed with Korea’s Anyang Halla defending its title.

In Korea, the number of people who play ice hockey has increased, but several factors including the lack of ice rinks makes expansion challenging.

"Hardcore fans of Halla have multiplied and someday we are confident that ice hockey can succeed like baseball in Korea," Anyang Halla official Min Ji-young said. 

The PyeongChang Presentation Team:
President of Korea Myung Bak Lee, bid chairman and CEO Yang Ho Cho, Korean Olympic Committee president Yong-Sung Park, Yuna Kim, reigning ladies figure skating Olympic champion, Communications director Theresa Rah, Jinsun Kim, former Governor of Gangwon province and special ambassador, Dae Seong Moon, Korean IOC member and Olympic gold medalist, Toby Dawson, Korean-American Olympic bronze medalist, Men's Moguls, Torino 2006

Key Messages Delivered
Speeches focused on PyeongChang's tagline New Horizons - probably the most catchy slogan of all three 2018 candidates. The Korean city wants to open up the Winter Games to new regions of the world. Simple facts were conveyed: Theresa Rah said that of 20 Winter Games since 1984, 19 were in traditional markets, none in Korea. Cho repeated similar in his address. The bid played up the two-cluster venue plan as the most compact in Winter Games history. 


-- by IIHF.com staff with files from ATR and IOC

 

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