PyeongChang, August 4 – Global football star Ji-Sung PARK was announced as an Honorary Ambassador for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The announcement was made at a special signing ceremony in Seoul where Korean-based media and PyeongChang 2018 representatives attended the event.
Now living in the United Kingdom, Park was in town for a few days to attend the 2017 U-12 JS Football Cup held in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. The football tournament is held every year in PyeongChang and organized by the former football star’s non-profit foundation, JS Foundation.
Park said, “My memories of representing Korea at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 are very special to me, so I know the importance of the Winter Games for all the athletes that are preparing to take part. I am proud as an athlete and also as a Korean to be supporting PyeongChang 2018 and I am looking forward to supporting a great event next year.”
The newly appointed ambassador was born in Goheung, South Jeolla Province in 1981 and is regarded as one of the most successful Asian footballer in history. He won an incredible 19 trophies in his career and was the first Asian footballer to win the UEFA Champions League title and also the first to win the FIFA Club World Cup.
He began his playing career in the Republic of Korea with Myongji University before moving to Japan to play for Kyoto Purple Sanga (2000-2003). From there he moved on to play for the famous Dutch Club PSV Eindhoven before his talents were noticed by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, where he would play for seven seasons (2005-2012).
Success for Park came not only for clubs but also for his country. As a member of the South Korean national team, he won 100 caps (number of times a player has played for his/her country in an international level) and scored 13 goals. The team’s best performance to date came when Park was a key member of the squad in the 2002 FIFA World Cup where they finished fourth. He would go on to play at two more FIFA World Cups and score in each of the three tournaments – another first for an Asian player.
Park took the decision to retire from football in 2014 after a run of injuries and instead became the sixth, and first Asian, global ambassador for Manchester United. He has also gone onto further his studies, studying Sports Management at De Montfort University.
POCOG President LEE Hee-Beom said, “It is an honor for PyeongChang 2018 to have Ji-Sung Park as an honorary ambassador. He is admired not only for his successes on the field, but also for the sportsmanship that he displayed throughout his impressive career. We hope that Park’s many fans will follow in his footsteps and support the Games as well as all the competing athletes.”
POCOG Press Office