A Corporate Giant Is Intertwined With the Winter Olympics Like Never Before

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SEOUL—In late 2009, South Korea’s president pardoned Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee from financial wrongdoing convictions and gave him a mission: Get the 2018 Winter Olympics.

South Korea had failed twice before. In a newspaper column, the chairman of Korea’s Olympic Committee said Mr. Lee would provide the “reinforcements of a thousand soldiers and ten thousand horses.”

Mr….

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