The week before a deployment ceremony took place today, Jan. 30, at Fort Stewart in Liberty County for 4,000 soldiers who will be leaving for the Republic of Korea, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a state proclamation in honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics, and designated Feb. 8 as Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics Day in Georgia.
Both the state Senate and House also passed resolutions recognizing and congratulating Korea on being host of the 2018 XXIII Winter Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games to be held Feb. 9-25 and March 9-18 in PyeongChang respectively.
The deployment of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division has been described as a “regularly scheduled rotational deployment” to support the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.
Both resolutions and the governor’s proclamation passed on Jan. 22 are similar and reveal bipartisan support.They all highlighted that Georgia native Elena Meyers Taylor of Douglasville has overcome the injuries she suffered during the Sochi Olympics and is to seek her third metal in the Women’s Bobsled competition in PyeongChang.
Senate Resolution 589 was sponsored by P.K. Martin IV (R) of Lawrenceville; Fran Miller (R) of Atlanta; David Shafer (R) of Duluth; Curt Thompson, D) of Tucker; Renee Unterman, (R), Buford and Ben Watson (R) of Savannah.
House Resolution 904 was sponsored by both the House’s majority leader, Jon Burns of Newington; and its minority leader, Robert Trammell of Luthersville; James Beverly (D) of Macon; Pedro Marin (D) of Duluth and Ron Stephens (R) of Savannah. The House resolution commends Mr. Marin for informing the chamber of the upcoming event.
The proclamation and resolutions point out that PyeongChang was selected as the host city of the 2018 Winter Games in 2011 after three consecutive bids and are to be held in Korea for the first time in 30 years after the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.
PyeongChang is to stage the opening and closing ceremonies and most snow sports. Alpine speed events, however, are to take place in Jeongseon and all ice sports are to take place in the coastal city of Gangneung.
As tensions mount between North and South Korea, the mascot for the games is to be “Soohorang,” the white tiger, Korea’s guardian animal. “Sooho” means “protection” in Korean and is to symbolize protection offered to the athletes, spectators and other participants in the games. The mascot of the Paralympic Games is “Bandabi,” a black Asiatic bear representing strong will and courage.
The games’ motto “Passion, Connected” refers, according to the proclamation and resolutions, to a world in which everyone is connected with shared passion for winter sports — “a world open to any generation anywhere, anytime, to open new horizons in the continue growth of winter sports.”
The athletes are to compete in 102 events in 15 disciplines and these games will be the first ever Winter Games with more than 100 gold medals.
Six new events including men’s and women’s Snowboard Big Air, men’s and women’s Speed Skating Mass Start, Curling Mixed Doubles and the Alpine Skiing Team Event are to be added to the more traditional program.
The U.S. team is expected to include approximately 240 athletes and to field participants in all 15 sport disciplines. The 2018 U.S. Paralympic Team is to participate in Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, Sled Hockey, Snowboarding and Wheelchair Curling.
Young-jun Kim, Korea’s consul general for the Southeast who is based in Atlanta, responded to both resolutions saying that they showed “the growing connections and integrity between Georgia and Korea” and were a sign “of welcome to the Korean communities and business circles residing in Georgia.”
Referring to what he called “a strong alliance since the Korean War in the 1950s,” he pointed to his country’s successful economic development since then, pointing out that it is the 10th largest economy in the world and the 6th largest trading partner of the U.S. “Korea has also transformed from a recipient country to a donor one in the international community, the only case in history.”
“Korea communities in Georgia, comprising roughly 120,000 Korean and Korean-American citizens and around 80 Korean invested companies, will remember this heartfelt gesture by Georgia for a long time. From my part, as Korean consul general in Atlanta, I will do my best to promote continued good relations between our two communities.”
The proclamation and resolutions made special mention of the following organizations: One Korea USA, a nonprofit focused don developing communication, healing and unity among Koreans living overseas since 2014;
the Federation of Korean Association in the SE USA representing more than 200,000 Korean Americans in North and South Caorlina, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. The federation, established in 1981, consists of 26 Korean American Associations as its members;
the Korean National Unification Council — Atlanta chapter, which advises by request and makes proposals to Korea’s president regarding policy development and implementation for a democratic and peaceful inner Korean unification and has 96 council members spread across Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North and South Carolina.