Country: Republic of Korea
Delegate Name: Alex Mochel
International Olympic Committee
The Wellbeing of Olympic Athletes
Republic of Korea
Alex Mochel, Forest Hills Northern High School
Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, increasing numbers of countries have participated in every event. The 1904 games saw only 11 countries participate; the most recent games included over 200. Since participation in the games has drastically grown, so has the number of resources available to the host cities and athletes. Typically the housing locations and resources available to the athletes were provided by the cities nearby and out of their own pockets. The first Olympic Village appeared in 1932 and contained kitchens, dining rooms, and large rooms. Olympic games in the 21st century have provided medical resources, easy communication with family, and top-of-the-line training facilities.
Despite this, the resources available to nations directly involved are of their own accord. Host nations that promote the welfare of all nations may provide resources to all athletes regardless of origin, but host nations that support only their athletes may neglect all others. Currently, there is little requirement for any mental and physical health to be provided both in and out of the Olympic Village. Additionally, there is no monitoring provided for direct access to specific mental health resources in the Olympic games.
Larger nations abroad may provide their own well-being resources, but many smaller nations are unable to afford such resources. Korean athletes reported extreme mental health depression leading up to and following the games. Roughly 31% of South Korean athletes agreed to questions asking if their sports severely affected their mental health. They spoke of mounting pressure and criticism from other athletes and training staff to compete in certain ways or achieve certain measures. Additionally, following the games, most athletes experience depression from the results of the games and the time in which they must wait to compete again. In between the games, the only resources available to athletes are ones provided by their training centers or their own accord. In the Republic of Korea, cases of trainers and coaching staff abusing their powers or their athletes have occurred. Here the nation has investigated its own cases and given justice accordingly.
Being the only nation ever to have gone from receiving foreign aid to giving it, The Republic of Korea believes it is of the utmost importance to provide resources and precedent to nations who cannot ascertain these factors in the well-being of Olympic athletes.
The Republic of Korea recognizes that as a state with its own experiences in the well-being of Olympic athletes, it has a strong role in the development of a solution for this pervasive issue. Korea believes that solving this issue will not only benefit our nation’s struggles but also mitigate any potential future issues and allow for an economically safer precedent for the games to be held. The Republic of Korea looks forward to working with these nations and all other interested parties to create a cohesive solution in order to tackle this pervasive issue.