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Letters to the Editor
Open Letter to President Moon Jae-In
The late Dr. Kim Un-Yong
Honorable Sir!

Over the past four decades, South Korea has deservedly become one of the most significant of nations, not just in Asia but across the world: in economics, industry, politics and not least culture.

Just recently there has been global acclaim for South Korea's historic, groundbreaking Oscar film award. In so many areas South Korea, with its ancient oriental origins, is now recognized for its remarkable contemporary contribution to global society.

May I respectfully say that impetus in this exceptional development, as the nation moved toward democracy in the wake of the Korean War, was empowered by the hosting in 1988 by Seoul of a truly exceptional Olympic Games — I have attended the 24th — opening Korea's doors to humanity.

The responsibility behind this achievement, improbable in the face of widespread adversity, lay essentially with one man: Dr. Kim Un-Yong.

Mr. President, it is, I consider, no exaggeration to claim that the foresight, energy, diplomacy and world-wide hospitality exhibited by Dr. Kim, gained international admiration and respect for his nation, and thereby became an enduring legacy for South Korea's reputation.

Furthermore, Dr. Kim's consuming campaign to organize Taekwondo as an integrated international sport, and to successfully achieve Taekwondo's elevation for inclusion in the Olympic program was another masterstroke, in view of the parallel failure of acceptance for other contending sports.

Subsequently, the renewed initiative by Dr. Kim on behalf of his nation's prestige, with the attempt to host an Olympic Winter Games in 2010, created momentum that eventually led to Pyeongchang being elected for 2018 — with the accompanying coincidental promotion for reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

In the light of my 60-year association with the Olympic Movement, I feel entitled to say that, in the history of the Olympic Games, no other individual has had such impact upon his nation's future development, diplomatically and culturally, as Dr. Kim.

Therefore may I request, emotionally and deservedly — alongside many thousands of global sports enthusiasts who affectionately remember and value Dr. Kim's lifelong devotion to the service of his nation and of world sport — that he should be granted honorable and belated interment at the National Cemetery, in company with other national heroes.

Yours, in remembrance of an eminent Korean,

David Miller
IOC Historian
FIFA Centenary Jules Rimet Award

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