Winter Youth Olympics in South Korea to Offer Enriching Experience, Says IOC President Bach

Gangwon Province, South Korea - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has expressed high expectations for the upcoming Winter Youth Olympics in South Korea, describing it as an enriching experience for participants and visitors. The event is scheduled to begin next week in Gangwon Province.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the president acknowledged that the Youth Olympic Games, which began in 2010, do not attract the same level of attention as the regular Olympic Games. However, he emphasized the unique opportunities the event in Gangwon will present, including various cultural and sporting activities alongside the main events.

Bach, speaking from his office in Lausanne, Switzerland, highlighted the array of side activities planned for the event. These include festivals, sports initiation programs, and opportunities to interact with young athletes from around the world. He stressed that the event would not only be about spectating but also participating and experiencing the diverse cultures of the 80 national Olympic committees (NOCs) involved.

The youth competition, running from January 19 to February 1, has seen significant investment from the IOC, including a contribution of US$35 million for travel and accommodation expenses for all athletes. This fourth edition of the Winter Youth Olympics marks the first time the event is being held in Asia, after previous editions in Austria, Norway, and Switzerland.

Bach remarked on the significance of hosting the event in Asia, particularly in light of the recent Winter Olympics in PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022). He noted the growing interest in winter sports in Asia and the opportunity to build on the legacy of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation has played a crucial role in promoting winter sports in regions with little tradition in these sports. This effort has led to Tunisia making its debut in the Winter Olympics at the Gangwon event. Bach praised the foundation's initiatives, such as the New Horizons camps and the Dream Program, which have involved thousands of young people from numerous countries.

Bach expressed hope that a successful Gangwon 2024 would not only pave the way for athletes' Olympic journeys but also boost interest in winter sports in South Korea and beyond. He emphasized the importance of the Olympic values of peace and understanding in bringing together cultures and athletes from 80 NOCs.

scroll to top