The International Olympic Committee on Friday voted to award the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2024 to Gangwon Province in South Korea.
Events will take place in the cities of Gangneung and Pyeongchang, that hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics. Gangneung will host ice sports, and Pyeongchang mountain sports.
The vote took place at the IOC Session in Lausanne, at the start of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics Games that have just got underway in the city. Of the 82 votes cast at the session on the question of whether to award the games to Gangwon, 79 voted in favour, one abstained and two voted against.
Welcoming the award, IOC president Thomas Bach referenced his organisation’s moves in recent years to make hosting the Olympics more affordable and sustainable: “Consistent with the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, the proposed plans by Gangwon 2024 will ensure the Youth Olympic Games remain sustainable and affordable. The Gangwon 2024 proposition enhances the legacy of PyeongChang 2018.
“The interest shown by many regions around the world in hosting future Olympic and Youth Olympic Games demonstrates that our new approach, based on constant dialogue, flexibility, sustainability, legacy and creating a project together, is the right approach.”
The IOC says its new approach to selecting Olympics hosts is “more targeted and streamlined” and allows for “greater flexibility and dialogue”. It has set up two permanent Future Host Commissions, one for the Summer Olympics and one for the Winter Olympics. These commissions advise the IOC executive board about potential bids, and the board then puts forward preferred contenders to the IOC session for election.
In a press release, the IOC said that it remains open to North Korea being a partner of South Korea in the 2024 games. In recent years, during a thaw in relations between the two countries, several joint North and South Korea sports event hosting plans have been mooted, including for the 2032 Summer Olympics. However, tensions have increased again more recently, raising questions over whether the plans will come to fruition.
The IOC said a ‘co-creation period’ will now take place for the 2024 games, in which the master plan for the event, the sports programme, and a detailed budget will be developed.
It is already planned that Gangwon will use many of the venues of the 2018 Winter Olympics, and the Youth Olympic Village will be in student accommodation at Gangneung-Wonju University.
In the same press release, Park Yang-woo, South Korea’s minister of culture, sport and tourism, and the head of the Gangwon 2024 delegation, said: “The Korean government is committed to providing the necessary support to ensure that the Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic Games are a great success. We will continue the strong legacy of the recent Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang and work to achieve our vision of expanding new horizons in sport.”
The South Korean government last year created the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation, to make sure the 2018 Winter Olympics have a lasting and real effect in the country and region. The foundation aims to “continue the development of winter sport in Asia, spread the Olympic values to young people through various sports and education projects, and also manage several venues that were used at the Olympic Winter Games”. This year, it is organising ‘Olympic values education camps’ for 20,000 students in South Korea and also arranging winter sports training camps for young people from around the world.