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Date 17.01.11 Hit 415
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UnYong KIM's Memoir 76(Graphys)


              


76  People that Gave me Strength 1
    - Lee Gun-hee Samsung President

- Former Korean President Roh Tae-woo

 

 

 


 


  - Lee Gun-hee Samsung President

I had close relationships be a few businessmen who moved Korea. Of those people, President Lee Kun-hee of the Samsung Group is especially unforgettable. He was the President of the Korean Wrestling association, and contributed a lot to the Asian Games and the Seoul Olympics. I had many opportunities to meet the leaders of Korean conglomerates, wealthy men who often had extreme personalities, the type of people that I dislike the most.

However, Lee Kun-hee was very different. It might be a weird expression, but I became his fan from the moment that I met him. I could tell that he was a very passionate man in his work. President Lee was a wrestler in his high school days. He must have loved sports, for he practically lived in the stadiums during the Seoul Olympics, returning to his work at late hours in the night, and he encouraged and supported sports officials and players.
Perhaps it was a way to repay him for his efforts, I do not know.

Nevertheless, President Lee was very close with Princess Ann of England, King Carlos of Spain, and other influential figures in the sports world. The International Equestrian Federation were supported by the Samsung group. Samsung sponsored many international sports organizations.

1996년 이건희 IOC위원 선임 축하모임에서.jpg
▲ Celebration Party of nominating Pr. Lee as an IOC Member in 1996

The reason that I became close to President Lee, was because every time I met him, I could feel that he was ahead of everyone in globalization. This was at a time when “globalization” was not a familiar word to many Koreans. He used to say that if he had an opportunity, he would compete with the top class companies of the world. He emphasized Samsung’s motto was “World’s No. 1.”

He and I agreed on our views of international society. We looked at the world with the same eyes. This became the single most important reason that we became close, and our friendship grew through sports activities. Once he admired and asked me that how do I know too many things. I frequently met him from the mid 1980’s, and my judgment about him was precise. From 10 years ago, the President of Samsung carried out broad management reform, and I was able to be assured of my view towards President Lee.

Samsung did this management reform not to become the number 1 company in Korea, but to be the leading company in the world. I read the words of Lee through the newspaper, where he claimed that, "Winning a national competition is meaningless to becoming No.1 in the world." I completely agreed with his opinions.

- former Korean President Roh Tae-woo

I once went with former Korean President Roh Tae-woo to observe the LA Olympics in 1984. We had to learn how to organize the nest Olympics in Seoul four years later, so it was time to smile and bow at anyone. Korea had no contact with Eastern European countries. In LA, President Roh met with an official from the USSR. Of course it was the first time. Furthermore, this was right after the shooting down of the KAL airplane by a Soviet fighter, and things were sensitive between the two countries.

1984년 로스앤젤레스올림픽때, 좌로부터 이병기보좌관, 김운용부위원장 ,노태우위원장, 전상진대사.jpg
▲ 1984 Los angeles Olympics

Secretary Lee Byung-ki, President Rho, and Ambassador Chun Sang-jin
Roh held a press conference regarding the 1988 Seoul Olympics and one reporter asked:
“Regardless of the KAL incident, are you willing to make USSR participate in the Seoul Olympics?”

After the meeting, the Deputy Minister of Sport of the Soviet Union said he would report to his county. Because of the Soviet boycott, Soviet athletes did not come to Los Angeles, but only Syssoyyev Deputy Minister, Smirnov IOC member, and Titov International Gymnastics Federation President came.

A certain tension dominated the room. People were thinking that the answer would criticize the Soviet Union. Things could become very awkward depending on Roh’s answer, which was firm:
“KAL incident is very unfortunate to the Korean people However, it is stated in the Olympic Charter that the Olympics must be a festival of harmony, so the Olympics must be held. Two should be treated separately”.

Expecting sharp criticism towards the Soviet Union, the reporters were surprised to hear such an answer. However, after listening to the words of former President Roh Tae-woo, I was able to see another side of him, his ability to suppress personal feelings. During the times that I worked with him, he as SLOOC President and I as first Vice President, we helped each other out, and shared the same goals until the very end. He trusted me and never interfered with my work which required quick and correct decision and action.




 



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