Gangwon Province in South Korea, the province of previous Olympic host city PyeongChang, has been elected the Host of the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics at the 135th IOC Session.
It was the only candidate put forward to vote at the Session by the IOC Future Host Winter Commission, chaired by IOC Member Octavian Morariu.
The proposed host was approved by the IOC Session by 79 votes to 2. There was one abstention. The two South Korean IOC Members could not vote.
Gangwon 2024's delegation to the IOC Session was led by IOC Member Ryu Seung-min, and included figure skater Cha Jun-hwan. Cha, the 2018/19 ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medallist and Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympian, made a short presentation in English. Olympic champion Yuna Kim also appeared in a short video presented by the delegation.
An IOC statement said: "The new Winter Youth Olympic Games host will benefit from many of the facilities used in PyeongChang 2018 as well as possible alternative venue options. Competitions would take place in PyeongChang (mountain sports) and Gangneung (ice sports), similar to the Games concept in 2018. The Winter YOG will provide young athletes with the opportunity to compete in some of the same venues where Olympians competed a few years earlier."
The proposed Youth Olympic Village would be in Gangneung, where volunteers stayed during the PyeongChang 2018 Games. All the proposed venues in Gangneung were used in the 2018 Olympics, with a number of venues in PyeongChang itself also having been used in 2018.
The IOC's Executive Board decided in December to "initiate a targeted dialogue" with the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KOC) for the fourth Winter Youth Olympic Games.
At the time, the Future Host Commission recommended this "targeted dialogue" based on five factors: a positive technical feasibility assessment, government support, a chance to take the Winter Youth Olympics to Asia after three consecutive versions in Europe, PyeongChang 2018 legacy opportunities, and "the opportunity to further leverage sport to continue dialogue for peace on the Korean peninsula".
IOC President Thomas Bach said then: "The proposal is very compelling from the perspective of legacy and sustainability as it would be an opportunity to hold the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024 in a number of venues where Olympians competed a few years earlier at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. It would be a powerful inspiration for a new generation of winter sports athletes and fans in Korea and beyond."
Peace and co-operation
Morariu added today: "The IOC would be ready to accept the National Olympic Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as a partner in the organisation of the fourth Winter Youth Olympic Games if the circumstances allow."
Gangwon Province itself is split geographically between the two Koreas.
International Ice Hockey Federation president René Fasel addressed the Gangwon delegation, recalling the Unified Korean Team in women's ice hockey at PyeongChang 2018 and adding his hopes for a repeat at Gangwon 2024.