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Seoul Olympic Park
Holding the Olympic Games is a privilege many cities strongly compete for. An international sporting event as well as the financial benefits derived from the Games are certainly good reasons to want to host such a widely watched International Sports Event.
However, beyond it being profitable, the Olympic Games are also a wonderful opportunity for a town or city to make a strong impact to the world and to associate itself with the prestige of the Games. But what happens after athletes have packed their bags, after records have been broken, after cameras have stopped rolling? In 1988, the Olympic Games were held at the Seoul Olympic Park, but what is it like today?
Olympic Park : Performances and Sporting Events Held Here
Spreading over an area of 1.4 million square meters, the Park boasts, in addition to the sporting facilities, a vast wooded park, the reproduction of two historical sites from the Baekje period (18 BC – 660 AD) – the Mongchon mud wall and the Mongchon moat – as well as more than 200 sculptures and works of art. As a matter of fact, the park is said to be one of the world’s five best sculpture parks. The six stadiums used during the Olympics have been preserved and still hold various sporting events and performances on a regular basis.
A Stroll through the Park
Peace Gate
This Peace Gate is the first thing you will see when you come up the stairs from the subway station. This imposing arch has an air of grandeur and purpose that fits perfectly the spirit of the Olympics. Designed by Kim Chung-up, it is 24 meters high, 37 meters wide, and 62 meters long.

The Olympic flame sits in the middle of it, burning vividly above the Seoul Peace Declaration. This gate symbolizes the hope for peace and its round lines are reminiscent of those used in the Korean traditional architecture.
Did you know?
Anthony Nesty (the 100m butterfly swimmer) was the first athlete to ever to win an Olympic medal for his country, Suriname.
The Olympic Museum
The Olympic Museum is the perfect place to learn more about the Games as well as experience the excitement of the 24th Olympics. There are three exhibition halls.

Place of Peace, 1st floor: Origin and history of the Games / Description of the original Olympic sports / Rebirth of the modern Olympic Games / History of the Modern Olympic Games
Place of Harmony, 2nd floor: Trip of the Olympic flame from Athens to Seoul / Exhibition of the athletes’ sporting gear who participated in the Seoul Olympics.
Place of Prosperity, 2nd floor: : Technical aspect of the Games and impact of the Games on the city and country.

In the Sports Experience Hall you’ll be able to try your hand «virtually» at various sports like weight lifting, volley-ball, cycling, football, and more. There are also video games with sports themes such as skiing, shooting and a surprising horse-riding simulation. My personal favorite is the weight-lifting simulation, though my best score of 116kg wasn’t much compared to the day’s record of 183kg…no medal for me I am afraid!

→ Go to the Seoul Olympic Museum
Photo Gallery
Various Shades of Green
Now that you know more about the Games, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the feeling of past grandeur that pervades the Park. A park is the perfect word to describe this place, once the focus point of the whole sporting community.
One could imagine the Olympic park to be a big impersonal concrete space, a mere gathering of aging sporting facilities. Not here, though. Green areas are visibly everywhere; in fact the sporting facilities are built around a big, wooded, hilly park, as if almost secondary in importance. Thanks to its superb natural environment and its numerous rest areas, the Seoul Olympic Park will be an ideal place for a leisurely stroll, a family picnic or a daily jog.
Did you know?
Two Bulgarian weightlifters were stripped of their gold medals after failing their drug tests, in which their team withdrew from the event.
The Legacy of the Past
The Olympics are an exceptional event during which athletes push themselves to their limits and strive beyond. This larger than life side to the Olympics can be felt when approaching the Olympic stadiums. Their sheer stature impress and, even though the clamor can no longer be heard, the atmosphere of the Games seems to linger on, you can easily imagine athletes strolling around the alleys, spectators going from one stadium to the other and journalists bustling about to report the latest news, or the latest broken record.
This feeling of past glory is further emphasized by the compelling presence of the huge sculptures scattered near the stadiums. Like intriguing totem poles dedicated to Olympus, they give the Park a mystical aura.
Today...
Today, the Park is a welcoming green oasis and a favorite meeting place for Koreans of all ages. The sports facilities are still regularly holding various sporting events and performances. It’s nice to see the Park still very much alive and well kept. It’s also comforting to see it being put to good use as a leisure place where citizens can unwind in a pleasant natural environment. As an Important landmark in the recent history of the city, Seoul Olympic Park and its glorious past can look forward to a promising future.
Getting there: : Get off at Mongchontoseong Station (몽촌토성) – line 8, exit 1
Admission fee: free
Olympic Museum : The admission fee is 3000 won.
Most of the amusements in the Sports Experience Hall require 500 won coins.
Tel : + 82-2-410-1052
Site web : www.seoulolympicmuseum.com (Korean / English)

By Mathieu Deprez

Date 01/22/2008



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