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Date 10.06.17 Hit 802
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[challenging The World] Prologue



Time flies like an arrow. It has been 40 years since I first stepped foot into the sports world. I have those devoted 40 years to putting my heart and soul into globalizing Korean sport and Olympic movement. In retrospect, the glorious and rough moments pass before me like a panorama.

As a person living my childhood dream as a diplomat, it was in 1971 that I took my first steps as a sports administrator, something I had never imagined myself doing. After going through ups and downs, I took office as the president of the Korea Taekwondo Association and started down my singular path for the globalization of Korean sports.

I have been doing everything I could since then for my country and nation. I established the World Taekwondo Headquarters in order to make Taekwondo a national sport. To make Taekwondo a world sport, I founded the World Taekwondo Federation and had Taekwondo selected as an official event in various international competitions.

The day Taekwondo won its fight against struggles and schemes and was chosen as an official event for the 2000 Sidney Olympics, I could not sleep as we were overflowing with emotion. And when that same Taekwondo was selected as an official event again for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, I felt my dignity and pride as a Korean undulate as the door to staying in the Olympics had finally opened for the sport.

The Olympic movement did not limit itself to just Taekwondo. It continued to globalize Korean sports as a whole. I did my best to host the World Shooting Championships, which became the stepping stone for hosting the ’88 Seoul Olympics. I was chosen as an IOC member in 1986 and made my way up the ladder to become a EB member and later the Vice President of the IOC at a very rapid clip. As I kept getting promoted to a higher rank, I did everything in my power for the development of Korean sports and to promote Olympic sports in general.

Korean sports faced a down cycle after the ’88 Seoul Olympics and its only escape, I thought, was to continue to globalize. In 1993, I was elected as president of the Korea Sports Council and the Korean Olympic Committee. Although I was essentially a part-time volunteer elected, I did not stop running forward despite increasingly heavy burdens. Even today, I continue to move.

By hosting major world sports events such as the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly, World Sport For All Congress, General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) General Assembly, IOC Executive Board and Session, Busan East Asian Games, JeonjuMuju Winter Universiade, Gangwon Winter Asian Games, Busan Asian Games, Korea and Japan’s joint FIFA World Cup and the Summer Universiade Daegu, Korean sports was not only able to go to Asia but also to the heart of world sports.

But just hosting international sports events in Korea isn’t enough to globalize Korean sports. In reality, what the world really acknowledges is performance. For the very first time, I stood near the pinnacle of sports leadership, among the world’s top 10 at the 1984 LA Olympics. Since becoming a powerful country in sports from the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Korea has earned 57 gold medals at the Olympics and has a total of 360 overall medals (including the group medals by team sports).

The Oryungwan stadium was established specifically for badminton and handball matches, the international skating rink was transformed into an all-weather training facility, and the athlete dorms and cafeteria were newly built so that the athletes could concentrate on their training in a comfortable environment. The Taebaek Training Camp was set up for the athletes training at high elevated areas, and a new set of artificial grass was spread out for hockey practices. Additionally, support funds for improving performance are given to each sport event group and the athletes have received a raise in their pensions.

My effort must have paid off because the athletes concentrated on improving their sports performance and, as a result, Korea has been able to achieve international competitive power by “Ranking in the world’s top 10 for the winter and summer Olympics 8 times in a row.” And to give the Korean teams additional help, a multipurpose gymnasium where five different sports can train and a dormitory exclusive to women are currently being constructed.

In 2000, there was the Sidney Olympics.

As the first Olympics in the 21st century, the Sidney Olympics was already receiving the world’s attention. It was in this Olympics that Korean sports made another new mark in history. North and South Korea had entered together during the opening and closing ceremony of the Olympics, 55 years since its division. Seeing them marching in together,holding the flag of the peninsula, was a very emotional event where the barriers of severance and division no longer existed. It was a paean to our long-cherished desire of the unification and it spread an emotional message of peace throughout the world.

Under the IOC’s cooperation, a meeting was held with the North in order to accomplish the event. During the meeting, we were able to confirm our identities as Koreans, and sports were presented another new horizon.

Although I had to experience the defeat when I had run for the IOC presidency as the firstnon-white person in 100 years, I have no regrets for I had done everything in the spirit offair play and that is what sports is all about.

Sport nurtures a healthy body and mind for our youth. The current society is in need for the educational value that sports can give. The Olympics and sport in general help make humanity’s culture more affluent. They lead to better cultural movements and act as a means to mobilize welfare for a better, more peaceful society.

The Olympics will always be there for humanity!

I feel great pride having come 40 years with the history of Korean sports and the Olympics. I feel a new set of emotions when I recollect the moments when I leapt into world, winning my way around new challenges.

But I still have many things to do for the advancement of Korean and Olympics sports. From re-enacting the Seoul Olympics’ glory by hosting the Winter Olympics in Korea, activating school sports, intensive investing for elite sports and a balanced advancement ofsport for all, securing Korean sports as a true sports power in the world, and more…

I have written this book by recollecting and putting together the memories of the pathdown which I have walked. I wrote this book in the hopes that it will be helpful to juniors in the sports world and growing teenagers. There may occasionally be areas that arelacking and parts where I may have almost carelessly passed by. I seek for your understanding.

In conclusion, I would like to thanks many people who have helped me come this far in publishing this book. I also thank members of Olympic family. I dedicate it to my wife Park Dong-sook, and my loving family. I do so from the heart of Korea’s 1988 Seoul Olympic legacy, the Olympic Hall,


Kim Un-Yong

Challenging the World



As the President of the Korea Sports Council and Korean Olympic Committee        

Running for the Office of the Korea Sports Council and Korean Olympic Committee

Towards the Dream of Hosting the Olympics    

Leaving the Presidency of the Korea Sports Council and the Korean Olympic Committee     



Racial Barriers at the IOC Presidential Election

The first Asian to challenge the Caucasian domination

Two-faced Samaranch 

The worst election        

The last decisive sabotage        



Sidney Olympics, the Sea of Emotion and Gratitude

North and South Korea Enters Together For the First Time in

Years since the Division

Meeting the Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Jong-il

Taking the final steps towards the goal


 Taekwondo, Building the Foundation for Globalization

Taekwondo: Chosen as an Official Olympic Sport

National Sport Taekwondo: The Birth of Globalization 

The Establishment of the World Taekwondo Headquarters 

Establishment of the World Taekwondo Federation 

Nothing is Impossible 

Chosen as an Official Sport for the Sydney Olympics

Chosen as the Official Sport for the Hiroshima Asian Games

Taekwondo, the Global Sport


Korean Sports Becomes International

The Legend of the Undefeated Man of the East has Been Born

The Dramatic Scene at Baden Baden

Becoming Friends with the Soviet Union

TV Broadcasting Rights: Achieved Through Persistent Tug-of-War

Olympic Relations

The World: In a Tornado of an Image War

Leading the Bidding of Hosting International Competitions

Reference materials

Women’s Sports in Korea


Dreaming of Becoming a Global Leader

The Shattered Dreams of My Youth   

Living in the Rapidly Changing Times of History   

Learning 6 Languages   

The Pianist Diplomat that Shattered Wooden Boards   

Overcoming Hardships and Despair  

Suffering in the Days of Military Regime        

Becoming an IOC Member   

From Seoul to the Whole World           

Hosting the 1999 IOC General Assembly in Seoul       

The Legend of the “Undefeatable Man of the East”      


Unforgettable People

Memories of My Youth 

The Memories of My Father From a Single Picture

My Mother who Taught Me Table Manners

A Mother that would Move Three Times for her Son 

Searching for Light 

My Wife, The other Half of My Life 

Make the Loving Children Travel 

General Song Yo-chan: A True Soldier 

Meeting President Mandela: The Legendary God of Liberty  

Samaranch: Making the Olympics into the Greatest Festival of the Human Civilization

People that Gave me Strength   


The Olympic Movement and the future of Korean Sports

The Mission for Korean Sports  

The Sydney Olympics is the Epitome of Elite Sports (Excerpt from Lecture) 

Sangmoo Military Division: A Big role in Improving Competition

Sports Diplomacy and Sports Marketing  

Have a Vision and Go with the Flow of the World        

The Agenda and Future of the IOC      

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