The 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games, a celebration of winter sports aspirants from around the world, is just 10 days away.
The 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games will take place from January 19 to February 1 in the Gangwon Special Self-Governing Province (Pyeongchang, Gangneung, Jeongseon, and Hyungseong).
The Winter Youth Olympic Games are organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was first held in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012, followed by Lillihammer, Norway in 2016 and Lausanne, Switzerland in 2020.
The fourth edition of the Games will be the first to be held in Asia. South Korea will become the only country in Asia to host the Winter, Summer, and Youth Olympic Games. Following the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, the Youth Olympic Games will make history.
More than 1,900 youth athletes from 79 countries around the world will compete. There will be 15 events in seven sports: skating, ice hockey, curling, bobsleigh and skeleton, luge, biathlon, and skiing. The slogan of the Games is “Grow Together, Shine Forever. With the slogan “We Shine Together,” the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games aims to be an Olympic Games where youth can grow and participate together.
The legacy of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be used to fulfill the dreams of young people.
The Games will be held in nine venues in four counties, including Gangneung and Pyeongchang. Seven of these venues are renovated versions of the venues that hosted the PyeongChang Olympics.
The opening ceremony will be held at the Gangneung Speed Skating Rink and the Pyeongchang Dome, and the closing ceremony will be held at the Gangneung Ice Hockey Rink.
Athletes will be housed in the Gangneung Wonju University dormitory, which can accommodate 2,600 people, and the Jeongseon High One condominium, which can accommodate 350 people.
The mascot of the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games is Muncho (pictured). Created by university student Park Soo-yeon, who won the symbol contest held by the Games’ organizers, the story is that the snowballs that Suhorang and Bandabi used to play with during their snowball fights, which were very popular at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, have been reborn for the Games.
The mascot’s name is derived from the word “unite,” which means to unite, share dreams, and grow as youth around the world through the Games.
Gangwon Province and the Games’ organizers are joining forces to make the Games a “sports festival united by K-culture. Together, they plan to run programs for youth from around the world to experience various educational, cultural, and winter sports activities.
Around the venues, there will be programs to experience winter sports such as ice hockey, curling, figure skating, and bobsledding so that visitors to the Games can have a hands-on experience. There will also be a virtual reality (VR) experience center, traditional games and food, and K-pop performances. The Athletes‘ Village will also offer opportunities to experience traditional games such as josei kicking, pugilism, and athletics.
The tournament is expected to showcase the talents of future dreamers who will compete in adult competitions in the future.
Shin Jia (Yeongdong), the women’s singles figure skater, is the center of attention. Still a junior, she won her second consecutive title at the World Figure Skating Championships, outperforming her older sisters. She won back-to-back silver medals at the World Junior Championships in 2022 and 2023 and back-to-back silver medals at the Junior Grand Prix Finals in the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 seasons. Shin is the favorite to win back-to-back titles for South Korea after her gold medal in the breaststroke at Lausanne 2020. Other snowboarders to watch include Choi Ga-on (Sehwa Girls’ Middle School) and Lee Chae-woon (Surigyo).
Last year’s Saemangeum Jamboree was an international embarrassment for South Korea due to poor preparation and poor management during a heat wave. This time, the world’s eyes will be on the event as it is an international gathering of youth from around the world. The organizing committee and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism are making every effort to prepare for the event, including preparations for heavy snow and cold waves.