If Kim Jae-yeol and Park In-bee enter, the era of ‘three IOC members’ will begin.
16 September 2023
Korea’s sports diplomacy begins a renaissance… The only countries with more than three players are France, China, Japan, and Italy.
Inbee Park (35) is the ‘golf queen’ who has won the LPGA Tour 21 times. He became an ‘Olympian’ for the first time as a golfer at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and reached the peak moment as an athlete by winning a gold medal. These were golfers who could not become Olympians for 112 years after 1904. What are the chances of him being elected as a representative of Korea who was recently selected to run for the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Athletes’ Commission at next year’s Paris Olympics (opening on July 26)? In addition, it has become highly likely that International Skating Union (ISU) Chairman Kim Jae-yeol (54), the second son-in-law of former Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who passed away in October 2020, will succeed his father-in-law and become an IOC member in October. Will he become an international sports giant representing Korea? Recently, they have been attracting attention as hot figures in the domestic sports world.
On-site prospects are mixed regarding the possibility of Park In-bee being elected.
Currently, Korea Sports Council President Lee Ki-heung (68) and Korea Table Tennis Association President Yoo Seung-min (41) are active as IOC members and IOC athlete members, respectively. Meanwhile, the additional elections of Inbee Park and Jae-yeol Kim to IOC members are expected to raise Korea’s status on the international sports stage in the future. Chairman Lee Ki-heung, who became an IOC member in 2019 as a representative of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), has been evaluated as having minimal activity and influence on the international sports stage and lacking competency. It has been a long time since criticism emerged that Korea’s sports diplomatic power has weakened significantly compared to the past.
“I think Inbee Park’s chances of being elected to the IOC Athletes’ Commission are high. She has an active character and speaks English well. There may be limitations to golf as a sport in the Olympics, but the most important thing is for her to work hard at the election site. Then, she can do it. there is.” Commissioner Yoo Seung-min, who announced that he would help Inbee Park’s bid for the IOC Athletes’ Commission, expressed an optimistic outlook on his junior’s challenge. He said, “I understand that China and Japan already have IOC members, so they will not submit candidates for the Athletes’ Commission next year. Then, who will be elected as the Athletes’ Commission member for Asia? Korea has a high possibility.”
On the other hand, Mr. K, the national team coach with Olympic experience, gave a somewhat negative outlook. “Golf? Most of the players who participate in the Olympic Games, or Olympians, do not play (golf) as a sport. Those of us who have participated in the Olympics know this well. The awareness of golf players, especially LPGA tour players, is low. Korea Sports Council The party initially pushed for Kim Yeon-kyung, but Park In-bee became the candidate representing Korea.
Prior to her interview with the Korean Sports Council to run for the IOC Athletes’ Commission in August, Inbee Park said, “The reason I participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021) was because of my dream of becoming an IOC Athletes’ Commission member. With the spirit of the Olympics, I won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics. “Now, I want to play a leading role in the ‘Olympic Movement’ by promoting that spirit to the world,” he told reporters. He made a solemn determination, saying, “I have invested a lot of time and studied quietly and diligently. I heard that the current athlete committee member Yoo Seung-min walked 450 km and lost 6 kg during the election, and I will also aim to lose 10 kg by walking 500 km.” It seemed.
Although Inbee Park is considered a ‘living legend’ of the LPGA Tour, the LPGA does not receive much attention from Olympic athletes. In addition, golf was again adopted as an official Olympic sport at the 2016 Rio Olympics after 112 years. Only athletes who have competed in the previous Olympics or are actively participating in the Olympics for which elections are being held can run for IOC Athletes’ Committee. They exercise the same rights and responsibilities as IOC members, and serve as a bridge between athletes and the IOC. It can also contribute to promoting sports diplomacy in each country. Yoo Seung-min will resign from his position as an IOC member after completing his eight-year term at the Paris Olympics next year.
Of course, Inbee Park has many strengths. At the 2nd senior meeting of the Korea Sports Council held on August 14, he was unanimously selected as a representative candidate for Korea, beating out Kim Yeon-kyung (volleyball), Jin Jong-oh (shooting), Lee Dae-hoon (taekwondo), and Kim So-young (badminton), among others, because of his excellent English. This is because of communication skills. While touring the LPGA tour, she learned English at a native level. Although he passed the first hurdle in Korea, Inbee Park must go through a tough election campaign by competing against athletes from all over the world at next year’s Paris Olympics to achieve his dream. Just like Yoo Seung-min did 8 years ago.
There is also interest in Samsung’s return to the international sports diplomacy stage with the addition of Kim Jae-yeol.
The prevailing view is that the election of ISU President Kim Jae-yeol, the husband of Samsung Welfare Foundation Chairman Lee Seo-hyun, the second daughter of the late Chairman Lee Kun-hee, to be elected as an IOC member is virtually confirmed. The IOC announced the results of the executive committee on its website on September 8 (local time) and announced that it would recommend a total of eight people, including Chairman Kim, as candidates for IOC members. Four men and four women will be elected as new IOC members at the 141st IOC General Assembly, which will be held in Mumbai, India, for three days from October 15th to 17th.
It is extremely rare for a new IOC member candidate recommended by the IOC Executive Committee to fail in the general assembly vote. Chairman Kim has already passed all three stages of screening, including document review, ethics committee verification, and candidate recommendation committee. IOC members consist of individuals (up to 70 people), National Olympic Committee (NOC) representatives, International Federation (IF) representatives, and athlete committee members (up to 15 people each). Chairman Kim was nominated as an IOC member as a representative of the International Federation.
There have been a total of 11 Korean IOC members in the past안전놀이터. If Chairman Kim is elected, it is expected that Korea’s sports diplomacy position, which has been narrowed, will be greatly strengthened. In addition, Korea will have three IOC members, including athlete member Yoo Seung-min. It has been 18 years since the early 2000s when there were three IOC members, including Lee Kun-hee, Kim Un-yong, and Park Yong-sung. If Inbee Park is elected as the athlete’s committee member following Yoo Seung-min, the era of Korea’s ‘three IOC members’ could continue for the next few years. IOC members have tremendous authority to decide on key issues of the IOC, such as selecting the Olympic host site.
At the IOC General Assembly in July 2011, Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, was selected as the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics, beating Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France by an overwhelming margin, due to the power and influence of IOC member Lee Kun-hee (1996-2017) at the time. Chairman Kim Jae-yeol’s entry into the IOC is also considered meaningful in that he follows in his father-in-law’s footsteps. Chairman Kim served as president of the Korea Skating Federation from March 2011 to June 2016. He ceased to be president as he became a member of the ISU executive committee. And after a long silence, in June last year he became the first non-European to be elected president of the ISU.
In fact, when then-Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee was elected as an IOC member in 1996, Korea’s status as an international sports powerhouse soared. In a situation where the existing IOC vice-chairman Kim Un-yong alone had considerable influence on the international stage, the entry of member Lee Kun-hee, who has financial resources, was like a Zuma-ga ally. Currently, among the 99 active members of the IOC, France has the largest number with 4, followed by China, Japan, and Italy (3 members).
If the number of Korean IOC members increases to three, our sports diplomacy power on the international sports stage will increase accordingly. With Chairman Kim Jae-yeol’s election as an IOC member, attention is being paid to whether Samsung, which had moved away from sports, will return to the international sports diplomacy stage in earnest.