Olympic transportation runs smooth in South Korea thanks to Utah man

Feb 22, 2018, 1:30 PM | Updated: 8:54 pm

Crowded — it’s just one way to describe the Olympic host city of PyeongChang, for the past couple of weeks. And moving the masses through the masses is not an easy task, which means you need a guy who can do all that.

That guy is Utah’s  Yonha Ryu.

The success or failure of Olympic transportation rests squarely on Ryu’s shoulders.

In short, Ryu is charged with the task of transporting more than 1,500 athletes, the same number of coaches, hundreds of NBC employees, and roughly 3,000 journalists.

Bus is the primary form of transportation at the games and there are 120 of them under Ryu’s control.

Add to that a fleet of SUV’s and minivans and Ryu explained, “It was very hard. I had to make my own transport plan.”

Born and raised in South Korea, Ryu and his family now live in Centerville, Utah.

He’s spent the past 18 months back in Korea working for the Korean government and doing something he has absolutely no experience doing.

On the world’s biggest stage, Ryu’s in charge of something he’s never, ever done before.

“When I got here, I didn’t have any idea on Olympic transportation,” said Ryu.

He studied. And he studied some more, trying to figure out the best ways to get everyone from the village to the arenas and the slopes over and over again.

Eventually, Ryu designed dozens of routes on paper and hoped it all actually functioned in a 3-dimensional world once the games began.

“And so far,” Ryu said, “I think I did well… so far.”

And so far, it appears he’s right. Other than long lines in the cold, everyone we spoke with seems to be satisfied.

Busses are on time. They take you exactly where you need to go. And they’re fully heated in below-freezing temperatures.

It’s good for the everyone but the man who may be feeling the greatest good is Ryu.

“I’m really enjoying it,” he said. And he should.

This Utah guy, who originally didn’t have a clue, put together a gold medal operation and with a little experience now under his belt, Ryu is hoping to do it again at the next Olympic games.

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