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German youths to immerse in Olympic fest, Korean culture

Feb. 5, 2018 - 18:30 By Joel Lee
German youths will have a unique experience of sampling the Olympic spirit and hobnobbing with young Koreans as part of the German Olympic Youth Camp, according to the German Embassy in Seoul.

A team of 40 high-performing young athletes and volunteers between ages 16-19 from Germany will visit Korea from Feb. 8-21 for the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in Gangwon Province. Their visit is organized by the German Olympic Academy and German Sports Youths commissioned by the German Olympic Sports Confederation.

The youths will participate in and witness Olympic competitions, tour Olympic facilities and engage in cultural activities with Korean youths in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. They will engage in sightseeing around Seoul, Gangneung, the Demilitarized Zone and other places with German Embassy staff, and attend seminars and workshops on sports and social and geopolitical subjects. Meeting with high-level officials in politics and sports is included in their itinerary alongside trying out Taekwondo. 

Members of the German Olympic Youth Camp pose in Frankfurt in November ahead of their visit to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. (German Olympic Academy)

In relation to North Korea’s participation in the games, German Ambassador to Korea Stephan Auer told The Korea Herald, “Cultural and youth exchanges were very important for getting to know each other, reducing tensions and inducing dialogue between former East and West Germany.”

He added, “The experiences of competing against each other, but also of marching into a stadium together as a united team in the Winter Games of 1956, 1960 and 1964 have shaped our understanding of the other’s beliefs and attitudes.”

The envoy said he wished the event would begin and end as “clean games” without doping, and the best for the German athletes in their performances.

“Of course we hope to be among the best in many sports competitions, as we have a long tradition of excellence in winter sports, particularly cross country and alpine skiing, biathlon, ski jump, luge and ice skating,” he said.

By Joel Lee (