Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, donned goggles here today and launched himself down a ski jump slope as snow blew through his hair.
The goggles were a virtual reality device, the ski slope was imaginary, the snow artificial – but it really was Bach crouching with the old fencer’s instincts as he sampled the technological wizardry collected within the Pyeongchang 2018 House by Copacabana beach.
For the beleaguered head of the Olympic Movement, this was a welcome if not exactly relaxing time out from the heavy duties of office in what has been a deeply troubled and troublesome lead up to the Rio 2016 now underway.
Bach was led to a series of displays showcasing the technological advances and traditional culture of Korea.
The murmured words “very nice” came in extremely handy, as did the observation, entirely correct: “Korean food.”
After an exchange of speeches with Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee, Bach’s tour concluded with the staging of an entertainment involving participants in traditional Han-bok dress break-dancing to a tune based on a Bruno Mars song.
Bach, clutching a brightly coloured fan to help ward off the heat rising from the Copacabana sand beneath the soles of his polished shoes, looked faintly surprised.
Speaking a day away from the 550-day countdown to the Opening of the 208 Winter Games, Lee said: “The eyes of the world will be upon us – our preparations, our calculations, our technology and our successes.
“And you can be assured we will do our best to give you an incredible Winter Games in 2018.
Bach responded: “With this Korea House I think you have managed to present a miracle because you are bringing the snow and ice from Pyeongchang to the sun and sand of the Copacabana.
“The displays you have here provide a unique experience for visitors and show your success in innovating for the Winter Games.
“You are setting the stage and making the important steps towards a very successful Winter Games in Korea in 2018.”