Every sport which wants to enter the Olympics, needs athletes, spectators, excitement, and where possible, a global reach.
But what it also needs most is a person who believes in the sport’s potential and is willing to back it financially.
Kihak Sung of Goldwin Korea, the official license partner of The North Face in Korea, is one such man. And he’ll be there in Cheongsong, Korea for the second stage of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour in Korea this weekend.
The Korean phase of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour presented by The Face which was launched in Bozeman, Montana in December moves to Cheongong for a two-day competition which begins on Saturday, 10 January 2015. Stops after that include Switzerland, France, Italy and finally Russia.
And it’s not just a one-time grant. Because he thinks it will take time to show the sport’s potential to the world, the UIAA and his company have entered into a multi-year development and partnership arrangement that goes through to 2018.
“I would like this to become one of the major winter sports in Korea and around the world,” Sung who has been the strongest supporter of Korean ice climbing since 1997 recently told the UIAA in a video interview. “This sport deserves to be part of the of the Olympic games.”
Sung said he used to be a climber, and wishes he could still climb. But his greatest pleasure these days is in seeing young people enjoy the sport of competition ice climbing, as an antidote to a desk-bound lifestyle.
At the time of the signing of the agreement, UIAA president Frits Vrijlandt said Sung’s backing was “a sign of confidence that the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour which has been growing in popularity over the years is a top notch international event.”
The video below was released by Sung at the time of signing of the agreement.