Mr. Dong-Hoo Moon has led a very impressive career in athletics event management from the 1986 Seoul Asian Games and the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, to becoming the Secretary General for the World Taekwondo Federation and the 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup. He is now the driving force behind the Organizing Committee for the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011.
As one of the few people to work for all three of the world's major sporting events, Mr. Moon has developed quite an expertise in the field of event management. However, during university, his major was far from sports. While attending Seoul National University studied law and began his career as a government official.
I had a few questions to ask Mr. Moon about his amazing career.
Q1. How did you begin your career in the sports administration field? Was it one of your childhood dreams?
To be completely honest, no, I never thought about this career as an option when I was a student. My first real relationship with the sports administration field began during the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. I was in the United States studying and I heard some very interesting news. I was surprised too learn that Seoul would host the 1988 Olympic Games. At first I was very suspicious about this news; that was until I check again for confirmation. At the time, I didn't imagine working for this event. But much to my surprise I was sent to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee as soon as I returned from the United States. I feel that this was my first real step into joining this field.
It was no wonder he was surprised to hear the news of Korea being the next host for the Olympic Games. During this time, the term ‘sports management’ didn’t exist in Korea . Korea has come a long way since the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
Q2. What are some of the most outstanding accomplishments of the 2002 Korea/Japan FIFA World Cup as former Organizing Committee Secretary-General?
Every time I think about the 2002 FIFA World Cup, it makes me smile. We had a great team who did an excellent job preparing for the event. It was here that we saw for the first time how contagious a sports event could be, and how it transcended so many national and cultural boundaries. This was especially evident in the photographs of the downtown area where every inch was covered with people cheering.
In a post-event survey, it showed that after watching the 2002 FIFA World Cup the world changed its view about Korea, from a less developed country to a world leader.
The 2002 World Cup was a miraculous achievement in itself. It was much more meaningful that Profits or Losses, or investment calculations. The event drew in Koreans from all over the world, and created a much needed sense of unity.
Q3. Why did you assume your current position as the Vice President and Secretary General for the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011?
The main reason for taking this position was to give back to my hometown, Daegu. I knew I could do this job because of my experiences in the past. During the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, I was the Competition Director. I was responsible for the arrangement of the entire program for 27 events. This included the administrative duties pertaining to all of the participating teams. This position gave me invaluable experience which led to my greater understanding of athletics flow and management. I believe that I was also granted this position because of my time as the Secretary General for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where I further developed my knowledge in international event management.
Many would agree that Mr. Moon is one of the best sports administrator’s the nation has to offer. With his leadership no one is in doubt that the event will be the best ever.
The LOC is a temporary organization formed to prepare for the 2011 World Championships. I wondered how Mr. Moon brought all these experts together and is able to lead them in a manner that creates such a powerful energy.
Q4. What leadership model do you implement in the Daegu 2011 LOC?
I like to help our staff remember that the best way to organize an event is to leave an honorable lasting legacy. If we share in this idea, we know that we must work and coordinate together in order to achieve our shared goals. It is sometimes not easy to do this as many of the staff come from different backgrounds and even cultures, but this is where I come in. The most important part of my job is to adjust these differences and to support the harmonious environment within the LOC.
We all learn how to be a good leader, but being one in real life is a different story. The key to managing a large organization is finding the proper balance between people.
Q5. What is the most important goal in preparing for this event?
First of all, I would have to say that we have to make sure that everything in the event should be prepared to perfection. We need to set up a festival where the athletes can hear the roar of the spectators as they compete and the scenes of achievements must be broadcasted to the world. With this environment, we can create the best possible conditions for the athletes to break and set new records at Daegu Stadium.
That being said, it is also very important that we improve the standards of Korean Athletics. As you know athletics events make up 47 of Gold Medals available at the Olympic Games. I believe that athletics is the foundation of the Olympics therefore it is important for Korea to become proficient in these events. In order to become a country known for athletics and to increase the nation’s enthusiasm in the sport, we must develop national athletics from the ground up, working as a country to raise our athletes to a new level.
Finally, the stadium must be filled with spectators. We need to create the atmosphere in Daegu Stadium where spectators cheer and athletes compete at their best.
With these preparations for this event that Daegu will become known to the world as the city of athletics. I want to make sure that Daegu becomes a city that everyone wants to visit after this event.
Q6. What is the most important thing right now for the Organization of the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011?
For this event, we have constructed, renovated, and refurnished the facilities which will be used during the World Championships. We are undergoing major preparations so that Daegu Stadium will be a great host venue to host this world-class event. We successfully hosted a concert on 30 September at the stadium using our newly installed sound system. Usually, sound system in cement buildings creates an echo that spectators can hardly hear anything clearly. But with the new sound system, we are able to minimize the echo and now hear clear sound in all seats in the stadium. We also installed two new HD LED Screens which are larger and clearer than the old ones. Finally we have resurfaced our track with a new, blue, Mondo track which will provide the athletes with the best possible surface to compete on. The LOC has also confirmed that the Athletes’ Village is nearing 70% completion, and all of our other projects are being finalized without issue.
The only thing that I am currently worried about is the ticket sales. It has been over one month since we launched the ticket sales, but we have only reached 1% of our sales target. Realistically, it will not be easy to sell out our 66,000 seat stadium, but we must strive to achieve it. We look forward to hearing the spectators say “It’s so nice to be here.”
It is sad to say that there are not many athletics fans in Korea, it is very hard to attract the spectators and bring them to the stadium. However, the IAAF World Championships is the international event where everyone’s participation is essential for us to have success. Hosting this event is an honor for both Daegu Citizens and Koreans as a whole. With the success of this event, the world will have a better view of our city and our country.
Q7. If this event ended today and was a success, what would you like to do next?
In my 30 years as a civil servant, I have spent 40 percent of my career working in the sports administration field. This is not common in Korea, so I would really like to share my experiences of hosting world class events with the future generations.
Q8. Do you have any words for the netizens who are awaiting the arrival of the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011?
We will make this IAAF World Championships the benchmark for all others. We will host it with more attractions than any other international sporting event before. With the event, various cultural events are ready for the spectators to experience every aspects of this beautiful city. I really hope to see you all here in Daegu 2011 and enjoy our event, food, and culture!
Mr. Moon always remains calm and relaxed, but after the interview I could feel his passion to create the best ever IAAF World Championships. I hope this event will be as successful as the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup and the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.