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Korea’s Olympic Icon – Kim Un-yong’s Resolute Odyssey
Price per Unit (piece): KRW 15,000
USD 10.96
Author: David Miller
Publisher: Seoul Selection
Pub. Date: Jun 2019
Pages: 320
Cover: Soft
Dimensions (in inches): 5.98 x 8.8 x 0.78
ISBN: 9781624121241
Language: English
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English-language biography Korea’s Olympic Icon – Kim Un-yong’s Resolute Odyssey shares the life of Kim Un-yong, a legend of Korean sports administration


Korea’s Olympic Icon – Kim Un-yong’s Resolute Odyssey, an English-language biography of the late former Korea Sports Council president and International Olympic Committee vice-president Kim Un-yong, will be released on June 18 by the English-language specialist publisher Seoul Selection. The book will be distributed and sold in South Korea and overseas through global channels including the US-based website It will also be sold in e-book form in the Kindle, Apple, Google, and other online stores.


This biography is of special significance as a work by David Miller, a veteran sports journalist from the United Kingdom. A journalist who has spent over six decades traveling to sports settings at home and all around the globe, Miller has covered no fewer than 24 Olympics and 14 World Cup competitions in his career. Miller shared a particular closeness with Kim Un-yong, of whom he has said there would “never have been an Olympics held in Seoul had it not been for him.” Miller and Kim interacted for many years during the former’s activities as a sports reporter and official IOC historian.


Kim’s life received newfound attention in South Korea with the 2017 publication of a biography by journalist Chung Tae-hwa. The publication of an English translation titled A Big Man Who Embraced the World in August 2018 was an opportunity for sports figures in South Korea and around the world to reflect on Kim and his aims. While the focus of the previous biography was on Kim’s career as a South Korean sports hero, Korea’s Olympic Icon focuses on who he was as a person and as someone whose light shone brighter on an international stage. Although Kim certainly was a figure who left a huge footprint on sports history not only in South Korea and Asia but throughout the world, the book also adopts a balanced perspective, acknowledging mistakes by Kim that resulted in major and minor misunderstandings.


Kim Un-yong contributed to bringing monumental sports events to South Korea, including the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and the 2002 World Cup co-hosted with Japan. He was also responsible for the historic moments at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney with joint marches by a combined inter-Korean squad. He played a pivotal role in the national achievement realized at those Games when taekwondo was staged for the first time as an official Olympic event (a decision finalized at the 1994 IOC Session in Paris), while his efforts to globalize and popularize taekwondo earned him the nickname “father of global taekwondo.” Later on, he was implicated in a scandal concerning bribery over the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and he would go on to resign his position on the IOC after a 2005 prison sentence on charges of embezzlement, including the misappropriation of World Taekwondo Federation support funds. He also stepped down as Korean Sports Council president, gradually distancing himself from activities in South Korean and international sports administration.

Kim would go on to resume his outside activities, sharing his sports administration acumen with successors through a 2006 advisory role on the Organizing Committee for the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and a 2010 advisory role on the Organizing Committee for the 2015 Universiade in Gwangju and taking on positions as an advisor to the KSC and honorary chairman of the Korea Taekwondo Association. Later on, he would share his aims through lectures and talks at various schools, institutions, and companies, while contributing columns to online and offline media including his own official website,


Born during a difficult time for Korea under occupation by imperial Japan, Kim Un-yong worked nonstop to cultivate himself, contributing to society in various roles suited to the times and the country’s demands: soldier, diplomat, sports administrator, politician, and professor. He also made remarkable achievements in raising global awareness of his home country of South Korea, which at the time was a late starter in the international community and a sports wasteland. Sharing the life story of the “Mr. Kim” who represented Korea in international sports for over 40 years, this biography is sure to move and resonate with many readers. It is likely to strike a profound chord in particular with people of all generations and nationalities who are pursuing careers through sports. The stories of Kim’s innumerable achievements as an outstanding negotiator offer ample practical value in terms of politics, diplomacy, and business.


Official release at Kimunyong Cup International Open Taekwondo Championships in July

Copies to be donated to sports associations, federations, and institutions around the world

With a publication date in June 2019, Korea’s Olympic Icon is set to officially go before the public at the Kimunyong Cup International Open Taekwondo Championships taking place at Seoul’s Jangchung Arena this July. Copies are also to be shared around the world, including an initial donation to the 206 National Olympic Committees affiliated with the IOC. They will be provided as well to the 208 World Taekwondo member countries –better acquainted than anyone with Kim’s aims – and to around 90 international sports institutions affiliated with the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), including the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).


The biography consists of eight chapters: “1. Emergent Phenomenon,” “2. Seoul Spectacular,” “3. Asian Leadership,” “4. Salt Lake Subterfuge,” “5. Presidential Turmoil,” “6. Pyeongchang Reversal,” “7. Symbiotic Convergence,” and “8. Squandered Icon.” It also includes messages honoring the late Kim Un-yong from IOC Finance Commission chairman Ng Ser Miang and honorary IOC member Vitali Smirnov. Its 320 pages capture the story of a life devoted to globalizing taekwondo and elevating the stature of South Korean sports.


Major events in the life of Kim Un-yong
March 19, 1931      Born

1949                          Enrolled at Yonhi College (now Yonsei University)

1951                           Entered the Republic of Korea Army Infantry School

1953                          Entered the US Army Infantry School

1961                           Aide to South Korean Minister of National Defense

1963                          Counselor at South Korean Embassy to the US / South Korean Embassy to the United Kingdom

1965                          South Korean representative at 20th UN General Assembly meeting

1971                           President, Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA)

1972                          Establishment of Kukkiwon

1981                          Inaugural chairman, World Games

1984                          Vice president, Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF)

1986                          Member, International Olympic Committee (IOC)

1994                          Director, IOC Olympic Museum

1995                          President, 2002 Busan Asian Games Organizing Committee

1997                          President, Korea Sports Council (KSC) / President, Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KOC)

1998                          Ranked second by German sports magazine Sport Intern among “most influential leaders in world sports.”

2000                         Member, 16th South Korean National Assembly

2006                         Advisor, 2014 Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee

2009                         Advisor, KSC / Honorary chairman, KTA

2010                          Advisor, 2015 Gwangju Universiade Organizing Committee

2012                          “Kim Un-yong Hall” dedicated at Yonsei University Sports Science Complex

2015                          Chair professor, Kookmin University

October 3, 2017    Died


About the author

David Miller is a British journalist who has covered sports events for 60 years. Educated in history, philosophy, and sports journalism at Cambridge University, Miller has worked as a reporter for such media as the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and Daily Express. He has established a reputation for his balanced and in-depth reporting and contributions, heading the sports department at the London-based newspaper The Times. Appointed an official IOC historian by former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, he has written official IOC books updated every four years. He continues writing and lecturing today as a freelancer.


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