IOC seeks Olympic legacy as Gangwon lands Winter YOG

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today (Friday) awarded hosting rights for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to South Korea’s Gangwon Province, with the event set to utilise several venues developed for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

The announcement was made as the 2020 Winter YOG commenced in earnest in Lausanne, Switzerland, and had been widely expected with the IOC having lined up Gangwon as host as part of plans to ensure a strong legacy for PyeongChang 2018.

The IOC Session voted to award the 2024 Games to PyeongChang and Gangneung after its Executive Board submitted the proposal earlier this week. The proposal had been put forward by the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) after the IOC last month entered talks with the body to develop a plan to host the Games.

The 2024 Winter YOG will be the fourth edition of the Games, and the first in Asia. IOC president Thomas Bach said: “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 said the new Winter Youth Olympic Games host will benefit from many of the facilities used in PyeongChang 2018, as well as possible alternative venue options. Competitions will take place in PyeongChang (mountain sports) and Gangneung (ice sports), similar to the Games concept in 2018.

The masterplan will be finalised during a co-creation period, in which the IOC and Olympic stakeholders will collaborate with the elected host. The sports programme and a detailed budget will also be developed during this period.

The PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation was launched last year in an effort to ensure the legacy of the Winter Olympics would continue to benefit the region for decades to come. In September, Gangwon Province Governor, Choi Moon-soon, detailed legacy plans for three venues from PyeongChang 2018, adding that a bid was set to be made for the 2024 YOG.

The legacy plans concerned Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Hockey Centre and the Olympic Sliding Centre in PyeongChang. Gangeung Oval, which held Olympic speed skating events, will become a multi-purpose sports and convention facility, while Gangneung Hockey Centre will host sporting events and art performances. The Olympic Sliding Centre is set to become a sports experience facility.

Venues for curling, snowboarding, ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon will remain intact and continue to host sports competitions. They are set to be lined up for Gangwon 2024.

“The Korean government is committed to providing the necessary support to ensure that the Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic Games are a great success,” Park Yang-woo, Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism and head of the Gangwon 2024 delegation, said today.

“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.”

Image: IOC