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Pocog names mayors of athletes’ villages for PyeongChang

Jan 17,2018
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From left: Ryu Seung-min, Kim Ki-hoon and Park Eun-soo. [YONHAP]
The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Pocog) announced on Tuesday the mayors of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes’ villages.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Ryu Seung-min and former short track speed skater Kim Ki-hoon will be mayors of the Olympic athletes’ villages while Park Eun-soo, vice president of the Seoul Sports Association for the Differently-abled, has been selected as mayor of the Paralympic athletes’ village.

Ryu, who will be mayor of the Pyeongchang Olympic Village, won gold in men’s singles table tennis at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, becoming the first Korean table tennis player in 16 years, since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, to win gold in the sport. Ryu also won silver in team event at the 2012 Games in London and bronze in a team event at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

He continued table tennis as a coach and is now the only Korean member on the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

Kim, who will be responsible for the Gangneung Olympic Village, has won a total of three gold medals, two at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville and another at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer. A victory at the 1992 Winter Olympics allowed Kim to become the first gold medalist in the Winter Olympics for Korea.

Though Kim also won a gold medal in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, it is not counted as short track speed skating was used as a demonstration sport.

After his career as an athlete, Kim was appointed as coach for the Korean national short track speed skating team in 2002 and was the head coach of the national team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Now, Kim is a professor at Ulsan College.

Though Park doesn’t come from an athletic background, he is a veteran sports administrator for the disabled, both as a former general manager of a wheelchair basketball team in Daegu and as a chief director of Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled.

“I’m very happy to have Ryu and Kim, who both have Olympic experience as athletes, who come from the experience of participating at the Olympics as athletes, and Park, a veteran administrator in disabled sports, joining us as mayors of athletes’ villages,” said Lee Hee-beom, president of Pocog. “I expect the village to make a community where the athletes feel as if they are home during their stay.”

Pocog will hold an appointment ceremony in Pyeongchang on Jan. 23.

BY KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]