(CNN)There has been political turmoil, protests and scandal in South Korea — but with one year to go until the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics the country is hoping that one of the world’s biggest sporting events can help restore national pride.
From February 9 to 25, 2018, the city of PyeongChang will welcome nearly 3,000 athletes from nearly 100 nations for the first Winter Olympics to be held on South Korean soil.
To avoid any potential confusion with North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, the PyeongChang resort — which is 50 miles south of the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries — has changed its name for the Games, capitalizing the C for the first time.
A record 102 gold medals will be up for grabs in 15 disciplines at PyeongChang 2018, while four events will be making their Winter Olympic debuts, with the introduction of Big Air snowboarding — athletes performing tricks after launching from large jumps — giving the Games a youthful vibe.
North Korea has previously sent teams to participate in recent international sporting events held in the South and Lee urged North Korea to send athletes to the Games.
“The basic principles of Olympics is peace,” he told reporters.
“Anyone who loves peace should participate, have the right to participate. There is no exception. North Korea is not the exception.”