Thursday, July 12, 2007

Less bitter criticism of the Pyeongchang Olympics bid

Here's a good article with a lot less bile about some probable reasons that Pyeongchang lost out to Sochi in their bid for the 2014 Olympic games. Among the problems are

  • Failure to consider all the voters
The South Korean presentation began. Then a map of Asia, on which only a handful of countries besides Korea, Japan, and China were labeled, appeared on the screen. The whole of Central Asia was a nameless void on the map…neither Turkmenistan, nor Kazakhstan, nor Uzbekistan were pictured. The members of the Russian bid delegation gathered around one of the monitors in the press center. "Why didn't they include us in Asia?" asked Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Zhukov.
  • Being patronizing and trying to tug on the kind of heartstrings that only Koreans seem to have.
The Korean presentation included a boy, or more accurately, a young man, who really was from Moldova. The Korean woman emceeing the presentation told everyone that a coach had taught the Moldovan boy how to ski and that now he dreams of winning the Olympic gold. And he realizes that he will be able to achieve his goal only if the Olympic Games are held in South Korea. The boy nodded dutifully.
  • Talking about themselves too much
"And now they're rolling out the topic of the reunification of the two Koreas," said Alexander Zhukov, pointing to the monitor. "And they're mentioning how they lost last time by three votes…"
"Well, that's why they lost, because they played up that topic," said Svetlana Zhukova scornfully.
On the screen, an old South Korean woman was saying that she had last seen her North Korean son 50 years ago and that if the Olympics are held in Korea, she will have a chance to see him again.

Anyone will tell you that the first rule when it comes to convincing someone of something is to speak in terms of the benefit to them. I can't tell you how many times people have tried to 'convince' me in the same self-interested way.
  • Pandering
"And they're always having kids singing in their ads," said Alexander Zhukov, with a note of condemnation in his voice. "We had way less singing in ours."

I recalled that there had been no singing children at all in the Austrian presentation. That was one of its main pluses.
None of this is surprising, of course, but it's nice every once in a while to wash oneself in the warm waters of Lake Schadenfreude and perhaps learn a few lessons for the future. Mental note: less singing children.

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