Doctor fulfills lifelong dream as Olympic volunteer

Dr. Yoon-Taek Chun

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (WAVY) — It takes thousands of volunteers to pull off the Olympics every two years – between the summer and winter games.

What makes a person give up their monthly income, work for free and pay their own way to do it?

“I am achieving my lifelong dream of attending (the) Olympics as a participant, not a spectator,” said Dr. Yoon-Taek Chun, who is volunteering at the PyeongChang Olympics as a medical translator.

Back in Pocono, Penn., Chun’s practice is closed for the month of February.

The most common cases Chun sees at the Winter Games includes ankle, back, knee pain and sitting on a seat a little too long. “Fortunately, I didn’t have too many cases where I had to get involved,” he said.

That leaves Chun with time to explore.

“All the athletes are helping each other,” Chun said. “There is total excitement among athletes and spectators.”

Chun has seen that excitement before, back at the Seoul games in 1988 – where he attended with his wife and family. At the time, he was just a spectator.

When he found out the Olympics were coming back to South Korea, he applied right away. In getting one of the few spots available, Chun could fulfill his dream.

“I was born and raised in this country. When I left Korea, I didn’t dream that we could have this kind of a festival in my lifetime,” he said.

Despite his Korean roots, Chun said the United States is his country now. So he’s Team USA all the way.