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JEEYOUN JENNY LEE – AISTS ALUMNI IN PYEONGCHANG

The XXIII Olympic Winter Games will be held over 17 days, from 9 to 25 February 2018 in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, the Republic of Korea.  In the run-up to the biggest winter sports event, we catch up with our AISTS alumni playing a vital role at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games.

This weeks interview is with Jeeyoun Jenny Lee.  Jenny was a member of the Class of 2013 and is Korean. Prior to moving to Lausanne in 2013, Jenny had experience with Projects and Events within National sports federations and associations both in Korea and the USA.  Once graduating Jenny joined the PyeongChang Organizing Committee as the Luge Sport Manager, and has been there ever since.  Her journey and hard work are soon to come to fruition when the Games begin next month. 

AISTS – TELL US YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR FROM LAUSANNE TO PYEONGCHANG 2018, SINCE GRADUATING. 

After my graduation in December 2013, I came back to Korea and applied for a position in the International Relations department at the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Unfortunately, I did not have a lot of work experience for that particular position so was not successful, but luckily at that time, the Luge Sport Manager position had newly opened. I applied for the Luge Sport Manager position and was successful and have been working as this since then. I started working for the PyeongChang 2018 in September 2014 and am now facing the Olympics to be held in few short weeks.

AISTS – YOU ARE THE LUGE SPORT MANAGER.  TELL US ABOUT THIS ROLE, ABOUT THE LUGE AND WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH IT.    

Luge is one of the three sliding sports; bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton. Luge has four disciplines; Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Doubles, and Team Relay. Single discipline athletes run for four runs in two days; two runs each day, doubles athletes run for two runs, team relay athletes run for one run to compete for the medals. The Luge competition will be held at the Olympic Sliding Centre, which is located in the Mountain cluster area, about 15-minute drive from the PyeongChang Olympic Village.  The Olympic Sliding Centre has five start heights; tourist start, youth start, junior start, start house 2, start house 1. During the Olympics, we will only use Start house 1 for Men’s Singles competition and Start house 2 for Women’s Singles, Doubles, and Team Relay competitions.  The total distance of the track from the very end to the other end is 1,857m. With the 161m indoor start training track, it is 2,018m.  However, from the start to the finish line length differs from each start heights. The total competition length from the Start 1 for Men’s Singles is 1,344m and the Start 2 for Women’s Singles and Doubles is 1,201.82m. Team Relay competition length from Start 2 is approximately 1,218m.  The start order for the Team Relay within one Nation/team is Women’s Singles, Men’s Singles, and Doubles.

As the Luge Sport Manager, I basically take care of the overall things related to luge competition and the field of play. Within my role, in cooperation with the other function areas within POCOG and with International Federation and IOC, I am not only involved in the sport of luge, but also in the venue planning and operations, venue design and construction, IF relations, homologation process, test event planning and operations, and the Olympic Games planning for the luge competition. These plannings include workforce education/training/management, budget planning, and athlete/team/IF related service planning for the test events and the Olympic Games.

AISTS – WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL DAY LIKE?

First thing I do when I go to the office is to check the schedule for the day; check any meetings planned, any documents to submit, etc. Then a short meeting with our team is done; we have two assistants, one coordinator, one deputy sport manager, and myself. Then I check e-mails, go to meetings, prepare relevant documents, prepare for the education workshop of the sport workforce, etc. We also have a track crew; military volunteers, education sessions at the sliding centre, sport volunteer workshops.  As of the 15th of January, we moved into the Sliding Centre.  Prior to this we were working at the POCOG headquarters office, but now located at the Sliding centre until the end of the Olympic Games. Then the days now are a lot busier than before.

AISTS – WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

The best part of my job is that I have built this legacy in luge in Korea, and in Asia. I’ve seen the Sliding Centre construction since tree cutting and now with less than one month to go, we are standing in front of the Olympic Games. This is amazing! One of the important legacies in an Olympic Games is the people. There was not one Luge National Technical Official in Korea when I first joined the POCOG. However, now, after 8 sessions of NTO education, 5 times training abroad, we now have 38 Korea National Technical Officials with international judge licenses. These NTOs will lead the luge competition operations in Korea during and after the Olympic Games.

AISTS – IN THE LEAD UP TO PYEONGCHANG 2018 WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

I think workwise, we are prepared for the biggest event. However, since it is winter and extremely cold, the challenge would be to be fit and physically healthy until the end of luge competition. It’s not just for myself, but for our team members and also for the sports workforce. If one gets sick or hurt, it will impact all of us.  Our team is incredibly important. 

AISTS – WHAT ONE THING DID YOU LEARN AT THE AISTS THAT YOU STILL KEEP IN MIND FOR YOUR WORK TODAY?

The Olympic Movement and my passion for this. I have always wanted to be part of the Olympic Movement and the AISTS kept me passionate about the Olympics, in spite of facing many tough situations in preparation for the Olympic Games. I know the experiences that I have gained both during my time in Lausanne and also my time now in Korea have helped me to be ready for next months event. 

Photos provided by Jenny Lee.

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