Winter Olympics Puts Professor's Home Country in the Spotlight

February 27, 2018

Quick Facts

bullet point South Korea is only the fifth country to host four major international sporting events.
bullet point Chung is from Seoul, South Korea, the country's capital.


ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Whenever anyone talks about visiting Jason Chung's home country of South Korea, he makes sure he or she does one thing first: work out. That's because the country has so much activity that it almost requires visitors to "get physical."

"It is a fun country, very tech-savvy and has a unique culture," said Chung, assistant professor and director of Winthrop University's sport management program. "Most everything in Seoul is 24/7. Most importantly, it is a fun place to visit!"

All eyes have been on South Korea this month as the country hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a county located in the Gangwon-do Province with about 44,000 residents. It's the smallest country to host the Olympics since Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994.

Although Chung is an avid baseball fanhis favorite team is the Kia Tigers, part of the Korean Baseball Organization League (KBO)he's been checking the news for glimpses of his home country. But, he assured, South Korea is no slouch when it comes to hosting events like this.

"South Korea is only the fifth country to host four major international sporting events," he said. "It is not new to host a mega event, but I am always excited to see my home country in a big spotlight worldwide. Mega-sporting events not only boost economic impact, but also social impact. There have been some issues both domestically and in the surrounding area in the past few years. It is good to see the 2018 Winter Olympic Games being a positive influencer for the country of South Korea and the Korean people."

He grew up in the capital city of Seoul, about a three-hour drive from the Olympics action. He visits his parents and other relatives there at least once a year.

"I lived in New York City for about four years when I was in fifth grade due to my father's business," he explained.

Chung earned a dual business administration and economics degree from Sung Kyun Kwan University in Seoul. South Korea requires two years of mandatory Army service. Because Chung spoke English, he served for both the Korean Army and the United States Army, known as KATUSA (Korean Augmentee to U.S. Army). He returned to the U.S. in 2003 for his second undergraduate degree.

He now holds a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University, a master's degree in sport management from Indiana University and a Ph.D., also from Indiana University.

Other South Korea and Olympics connections

*Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Pedagogy Minnie Mize is also from South Korea.

*Dan Drane, associate professor of sport management, has visited South Korea many times over the years and enjoyed the country's beauty. He roots for the Hanwha Eagles, a top rival of Chung's favorite team.

Drane also worked as a volunteer coordinator/trainer at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or

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