+ A

Survey reveals most iconic Olympic moment

Mar 31,2018
In a Winter Olympics marked by political breakthroughs and athletic milestones, the most memorable moment from the Games, according to a new survey, was not the diplomatic overtures from North Korea, Chloe Kim’s back-to-back 1080s or the South Korean women’s curling team’s unlikely silver medal.

It was drones.

A survey of Korea’s image abroad after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics showed that drones used during the opening and closing ceremonies drew the most international attention.

The Corea Image Communication Institute, a nonprofit that promotes Korean culture overseas, conducted the survey across nine days in March. It received responses from 451 people, 227 Korean and 224 from abroad. A quarter of the foreign responses came from North America, 21.9 percent from Asia and 21 percent from Europe. The rest came from Oceania, Africa and South America.

According to the results, 89.7 percent of foreigners said the light-up drones, which flew in formation during the opening and closing ceremonies to form the shape of the Olympic rings and Soohorang, the Olympic mascot, were the most memorable part of the Winter Games.

Visits by high-profile figures like Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump; Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un; and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came in second with 51.8 percent.

Koreans who were surveyed offered similar responses.

When asked what contributed most to promoting the nation’s image during the Games, both Koreans and foreigners said it was the combination of traditional performance and modern technology displayed at the opening and closing ceremonies, with 81 percent of Koreans saying so and 91 percent of foreigners answering likewise.

In second was the opening of a high-speed train to Gangwon, the Games’ host province. About 16 percent of foreigners who took the survey also said “kind and friendly Koreans” boosted their image of the country.

When asked what might best promote Korea to the world, nearly 71 percent of foreigners answered food and close to 67 percent of Koreans said the same.

Korean cuisine’s international profile has been rising in recent years, especially after Michelin released its first Seoul guide in November 2016.

“In order for Korean cuisine to be universalized, it must meet a universal standard, and I think the Michelin listing will help Korean food become a more approachable cuisine for many people,” Kim Byung-jin, executive chef of the three-starred restaurant Gaon, told the Agence France-Presse in November 2016.

Despite the worldwide popularity of Korean idol groups, K-pop came in third after social media activity as the best way to promote Korean culture to the world.

BY LAURA SONG [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]