What do Koreans think about the Olympics?
I have had talked with some Korean professors and they are divided. Those who oppose, think that hosting The Olympics in a small region with 300,000 inhabitants like Gangneung is an unnecessary expense, also, they think that the sporting venues will become white elephants or will be used for other purposes different to sport activities. Supporters think that PyeongChang Olympics will be as important and significant as Seoul Olympics in 1980’s for two reasons: First, to improve relations with North Korea and facilitate peace conversations, and second, to lead the development of winter sports in Asia.
The meetings between representatives of North and South Korea and media coverage have shown that people are divided. Some agree and support, while others take to the streets to protest against the arrival of US troops to conduct military exercises in the peninsula.
The PyeongChang Olympics have been presented as ‘The Peace Games’. In this regard, Professor Kim of Cheongju University, conducted a survey with 762 people to know the perception, attitude and intentions of Koreans in front of the Olympics as a manifestation of peace. They were asked on a scale of 1 to 10 if they agreed with this statement (1, strongly disagree and 10 strongly agree). The results showed that:
The average score was 6,35 for the peace recognition section including ‘The PyeongChang Winter Olympics seem to match its expression ‘Peace Olympics’.
The average score of the Peace attitude including ‘I do/do not like the expression ‘Peace Olympics’ for The PyeongChang Winter Olympics was 5,79.
The average score of the focus on peace behavior including ‘PyeongChang Winter Olympics are helpful in promoting peace through our defense forces’ and ‘I will pay more taxes to help promote peace after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics’ was 5,52.
Independent studies showed that hosting The Olympics do not increase employment, income or sport participation as promised by organizers. My opinion is that the number of people who practice winter sports in Korea will not be increased, neither tourism nor the economy of Gangneung province. But a large part of Koreans are proud of having demonstrated their commitment, their strong capacity to get what they want, their, organization, development and technology. Those who support the Games feel that the Olympics are the reward for many efforts of the past.