November 17, 2017

Dream Program PyeongChang

The Dream Program is initiated to introduce winter sports to young people who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience winter weather and winter sports. The Dream Program was launched by PyeongChang in 2004 as part of its bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Since then, 1,574 youths (105 with disabilities) coming from 75 countries have participated in this program, which is usually organized for 10 days between January and February.

The Dream Program provides youths aged 11 to 15 with the opportunity to train in skiing and ice sports. In particular, youths who have limited access to winter weather or winter sports, or those who have potential to excel in winter sports, are invited to PyeongChang. The program has also helped foster closer ties among nations and enriched the participants through cultural exchange.

Key stakeholders such as the IOC, winter International Federations such as FIS and ISU, the foreign media and NOCs have lauded the Dream Program as an excellent initiative that has contributed to the Olympic Movement. It has helped to expand winter sports, promote friendship among youths, and contributed to peace around the world. Since 2011, the second phase of the Dream Program, called ‘New Dream Program’, has been in operation.

Under the New Dream Program, there will be an increase in opportunities for the youths, including those with disabilities, to experience winter sports in PyeongChang. In 2012, the Dream Program was also expanded to serve as an academy for winter sports.

One example of success story from this Dream Program is Julian Yee Zhi-Jie, Malaysia's very own figure skater, who won gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games. His free skate routine, where he was placed third, gave him the points needed (148.74) to place in the top seven to qualify for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

*image credit to @julianyeeee

Yee began learning to skate at age four at the Sunway Pyramid Ice Rink. He was later selected by National Ice Skating Association (Ice Skating Association Of Malaysia) to participate in the 2009 Korean Dream Program in PyeongChang.

*image credit to @julianyeeee

*image credit to @julianyeeee

"I was very inspired with the fact that PyeongChang may be an Olympic Venue in the future and that I had the opportunity to learn more about figure skating at the Korean Dream Program. With this Dream Program, it had also made me realize that the Winter Olympics is a very important and prestigious event. Making me want to be there some day. 8 years later, it is truly an honor and an achievement to be able to qualify and participate at the 2018 Winter Olympics PyeongChang, the very same venue as the Korean Dream Program”.

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