Olympic chiefs dismiss Pyeongchang 2018 security fears

IOC president Thomas Bach says Winter Olympics will go ahead as planned

IOC president Thomas Bach
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach 
(Image credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the escalating North Korea crisis pose no threat to the security of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, says the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Speaking ahead of this week’s IOC session in Lima, IOC president Thomas Bach said there was “no hint” of a threat to the Games, which are scheduled to take place in South Korea next February.

When asked if some national teams may pull out because of safety fears, Bach told Inside the Games: “I don’t see this [as a concern] right now because there is a clear commitment.”

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Bach also expressed his confidence that “diplomacy and peace” would prevail on the Korean Peninsula. “There is also, so far, not even a hint that there is a threat to the security of the Games in the context of the tensions between North Korea and some other countries,” he said. “There is no doubt being raised about the Olympic Winter Games in 2018.”

He added that the IOC was involved in key discussions and committed to their successful outcome. “It is also interesting to know that right now the UN member states are discussing a draft of an Olympic Truce resolution for Pyeongchang 2018. We hope that these discussions, to which we contribute, will be successful, so this can be approved at the UN General Assembly in November.”

Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyeongchang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG), echoed Bach’s message.

“There’s no plan B, as the Olympics are based on an Olympic Truce,” he said. “We will have a torch lighting ceremony in Greece on 24 October and then the torch will be delivered to Korea on 1 November.” Lee also said that “security and safety” at the Olympic Games would be “perfect.”

Starting tomorrow in the Peruvian capital, the IOC session will see Paris formally confirmed as the host city of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, with Los Angeles awarded the 2028 Olympics.

While these announcements should top the news agenda, IOC boss Bach has had to fight several fires over credibility issues, the BBC reports.

Last week police raided the offices of the Brazilian Olympic Committee as part of an investigation into corruption allegations relating to Rio’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Bach said that no organisation was “immune to credibility issues”. He said: “Credibility for us is extremely important. We have taken a series of measures with regard to good governance.

“We have changed the candidature procedure. New rules and stricter rules have been adopted for the procedure for 2026.

“No organisation in the world is immune. No law is so perfect that it cannot be broken.”

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