South Korean sports administrator Kim Jae-youl was elected as a new member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday, becoming the 12th person from the country to join the top Olympic body.
Kim, 55, was one of eight new members whose candidacy was ratified during the IOC Session in Mumbai, about a month after the IOC's Executive Board first recommended their nomination. The vote by IOC members at the session was considered a formality.
A successful candidate needed a majority vote, and Kim garnered 72 out of 73 votes cast by IOC members at the session.
"It's such an honor, and I feel a tremendous responsibility to do well," Kim said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at a hotel in Mumbai.
"I will work hard with a sense of responsibility for the development of sports," he answered when asked if he feels a duty to enhance South Korea's sports diplomacy.
Kim is also the president of the International Skating Union (ISU). He is one of two new members who are the heads of an international federation of an Olympic sport, alongside International Table Tennis Federation President Petra Sorling.
Kim is the son-in-law of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who was elected as an IOC member in 1996 and became an honorary member in 2017.
"It was thanks to the chairman that I entered the world of international sports," he said, recalling how he helped his father-in-law campaign to bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to the South Korean resort town of PyeongChang.
"While working at the time as former Chairman Lee's interpreter and secretary, I got to know and build connections with IOC members and other international sports figures," he said.
Kim becomes the third active IOC member from South Korea, joining Ryu Seung-min, the 2004 Olympic men's table tennis gold medalist, and Lee Kee-heung, president of the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC).
Ryu was elected to the IOC Athletes' Commission in 2016, and his term will end at the Paris Summer Olympics next year. Lee was elected in 2019, in connection with his function within a national Olympic body. Lee will only be able to serve until he turns 70 in 2025, though the IOC may extend the age limit for four years upon a proposal from the executive board.
Kim was elected as the ISU president in June 2022, becoming the first non-European leader of the world skating governing body since its foundation in 1892.
Source: Yonhap News Agency