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(Olympics) Top organizer hopes PyeongChang 2018 can bring peace to world

2018/02/09 21:52

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By Yoo Jee-ho

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- The top organizer for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics said during Friday's opening ceremony that he hopes the competition will bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and the rest of the world.

"Sport has a great power to unite people and bring together the world in harmony and peace transcending disputes and conflicts," said Lee Hee-beom, PyeongChang's chief organizing official since May 2016. "PyeongChang Games, I am confident, will provide a light of hope for all global citizens yearning for peace on this planet."

   Before Lee took the podium, athletes and officials from South and North Korea marched together into the main stadium, only the fourth time they've done so in the Olympic Games, behind the Korean Unification Flag.

Lee Hee-beom, head of the organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, gives a speech during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap) Lee Hee-beom, head of the organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, gives a speech during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

"The entire world watched and witnessed another historic joint marching of the South and North Korean athletes under the Korean Peninsula flag. It means two Koreas became one unified Korea through the Olympic Games," Lee said. "In order for the PyeongChang Games to serve as a truly global festival of peace and harmony, we would like to light the fire of PyeongChang Olympic Flame."

   PyeongChang 2018 is the first Winter Olympics to take place in South Korea. An alpine resort town nestled among the mountains on the eastern part of the country, PyeongChang won the bid to host the Olympics on its third try, after losing to Vancouver, Canada, for the 2010 competition, and then to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Games.

Then in an International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in 2011, PyeongChang beat out Germany's Munich and France's Annecy.

With 2,920 athletes from 92 nations, PyeongChang 2018 is the largest Winter Olympics in history.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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