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Date 17.09.18 Hit 1596
Attached file
UnYong KIM's Memoir 81(Garaphys)


81  The Olympic Movement 

and the future of Korean Sports




1. The development of sports in the 21st century and the changes in the Olympics

The East and the West recognize sports very differently. In the past, sports in the East were for strong and good fighters who lacked in studies, while sports in the West was something enjoyed by people with the time and the money. 

However, sports in the 21st century changed into a positive social movement. It is not only receiving focus by helping us to realize a more peaceful life and society, but through the commercialization of sports, it has now become an enjoyable part of life. 

The development of sports proceeded together with the development of the Olympics, but at one time, politics influenced sports. This is because the messages of the Olympics reaches every part of the globe. Nazi’s and the Soviet Union used the Olympics to promote their systems, and the Olympics had been tainted by racial issues, terrorism, political and religious issues. Boycott also continued for 12 years until the end of the 88 Seoul Olympics.

However, the Olympics continued to develop, and now different countries compete with each other to host the Olympic Games. This is because of the great message that the Olympics bring. It raises national pride and affects political and economic development. Nowadays, without the enormous investment of government, it is impossible to host the Olympics and hard to win a gold medal, as you see the top 10 golden medal powerhouses. USA, UK, China, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan and so on.

The Olympics has been successful as a business. With the top sponsor providing over a thousands of million of dollars, there are also other profitable businesses such as licenses, official suppliers. TV rights are an important source of income for the Olympics as well. It's a billion dollars in a four-year cycle. According to reports from Japan, the World Cup broadcasting rights has reached 6.3 billion yen, 
but in the case of the Olympics, a single U.S broadcasting company, NBC, paid 1 billion dollars. Usually  the broadcasting company contract several Olympics at once.

Through commercialization and popularization in the 20th century, it has developed successfully, but it still has problems. The problems of the Olympics in the 20th century created over commercialization. The players tried to earn glory and money by abusing drugs. Also, some players have started to boycott the event. Dream team players tend to be influenced more by money than sports spirit, which is having a negative effects on other players. Doping is the biggest problem in the world sports, especially IOC. Sochi, London and Beijing Olympics are also made troubled regarding doping problem.

Some players with excessive pro-rism boycott the competition. Dream team players tend to be more money-oriented than sporting, and they have a negative effect on other players. At the Olympics, there are a mixture of professional baseball players, football players, ice hockey players, golfers who earn tens of millions of dollars, and pure amateur athletes.

We cannot avoid addressing moral issues, including environmental problems. With these problems arising, the original objectives of the Olympics, education of youth, better life, and contribution to peace, are slowly starting to fade away. The birth of the Youth Olympics is also in that context.

How Olympic ideals should be resurrected in the 21st century. Also, how will they be promoted? I believe that these are the issues that the IOC must address in the future.

2. Phenomena of Korean Sports

In the sports of Korea, women excelled over men until the 1970’s, and the national mission was to lose little to Japan, and beat North Korea at all costs. 

If was impossible to expect good scores in the Olympics, and people expected Korea to take one gold medal in 30 years. In fact, KOC was established in 1948 and Yang Jeong-mo won the gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics at the first time.

            2000년 태능선수촌에서 선수들과 아침조깅, 왼쪽부터 이승완, 김봉섭 사무총장, 필자, 이상철 부회장, 장창선 선수촌장.jpg
▲ Morning Jogging with athletes 
(2000, Taereung national athletes village) 

However, since 1980, Korean sports rank among the top 10 in the world. From Sydney Olympics, Taekowndo was adopted as an Olympic sport. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Karate will become a regular Olympic sport.

Korea was able to become a top 10 countries in the Olympics, which has more than 200 member countries, because of the Seoul Olympics. The Seoul Olympics brought national pride and unity in the people, and Korea made many accomplishments across all fields of society including politics, economy, culture, media, science, communication, and medicine. The games became a stepping stone to develop toward an advanced country. It was an Olympic event that was held in a divided country, but it is still recorded as one of the most successful Olympic Games ever. The sharp development of Korean playing power is due to the support of Korea Sports Council, which is 400 billion won per year.

The Sydney Olympics, the last of the 20th century, left many lessons to be learnt, but Korea saw three very important accomplishments. 

The first is the joint march of North and South Korea as a united team, which is the first time in 50 years. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was accomplished through numerous negotiations. The whole world watched while Koreans, North and South, wore the same uniform and wave the same flag, and it received a standing ovation of over 120,000 in attendance, including Presidents, Prime ministers, and sports officials. We also cheered each other in the arena.

After 10 months passed, the joint march, a symbol of peace for the united Korean team was once again mentioned at the ASEM meeting held in Seoul, which proves how influential it had been. Unfortunately, It started after 50 years but ended in Beijing after 18 years. 

The second is that Taekwondo became an official sport for the first time at the Sydney Games. It took 27 years since the inauguration of WTF. Some media pointed out its lack of entertainment but rules can always improve, and as it becomes accepted in the world, it will continue to develop. Moreover, Taekwondo is a martial arts sport and it is necessary to do great research.

Rules cannot be changed abruptly. Changes in rules can be seen in swimming and athletics as well, Judo has changed its uniforms to red and blue, and table tennis changed the color of the ball for better TV viewing. Rules are constantly changing according to the spread and development of sports.

Volleyball increased the toss from 3 times to 4, basketball accepted 3 point shots, and many other changes have been made. Rules are officially decided through much research and experiment. The gold medals of Olympic Winter was  30 in the past but now is more than 102.

Taekwondo started as a martial art and developed into a sport in 20 years. At the Sydney Olympics, the King of Sweden, Kissinger, Samaranch, Queen of Spain, Austrian Prime Minister, and leading sports officials watched the Taekwondo matches. Taekwondo successfully debuted as an official sport of the Olympics. IOC President Samaranch was also pleased. Techniques and rules must be diversified, and if it continues to develop in the future, I expect that it will continue to remain in Olympics.

The third is Korea’s medal record. 8 Golds, 10 Silvers, and 10 Bronzes were taken home. Korea fought bravely against the strongest players in the world in hockey, handball, volleyball, basketball, and baseball. Although we may be physically smaller, our players did their very best. 

In order to win in sports, fitness and luck must follow.  Moreover, sports diplomacy can not be ignored. For example, if you give a free serve at a volleyball, you give a 2 minute redemption penalty in handball, and if you give a strike in the baseball, then the game flow can be quite different. Although the recorded events are different, there are many cases, ball games and martial arts play a crucial role in diplomacy. So the sport diplomacy should be further strengthened. If leaders needs interpreters for communication, it is difficult to ride international tides ahead, and support international competition.


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