Top Olympic Bid Stories of 2008: Durban's Seriously Unreal Winter Bid; Korea's Really Serious Winter Bid

Today we continue our first ever Top Ten Olympic bid Stories list for 2008 with #8 and #7. These stories, from the mainstream to the obscure, impacted the course of Olympic bids and formed an interesting plotline for 2008.

#10 – Student tries to break Olympic Monopoly of the Internet
#9 – Birmingham, Alabama to bid for 2020 Olympic Games

#8 – Durban, South Africa To Bid For 2018 Winter Olympics?

In a story that should have broken on April Fools’ Day instead of May 28 – media outlets in South Africa announced that Durban was bidding for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Durban’s average winter temperature is 20 degrees Celsius. Durban’s communications department quickly cleared up the misunderstanding and explained that Durban was actually bidding to host the meeting where the host of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be elected.

Durban went on to defeat Hong Kong and will be hosting the IOC session in 2011. Later, Durban announced intentions to bid for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020.

#7 – PyeongChang Get Ready To Bid For 2018 Olympic Winter Games

In 2003, PyeongChang, South Korea bid for the 2010 Olympics narrowly losing to Vancouver. In 2007 PyeongChang bid for the 2014 Olympics narrowly losing to Sochi. Along the way the winter sports committee from Gangwon province in South Korea has made several promises to the IOC – and it is working hard to fulfill them.

The story here is that PyeongChang has launched possibly the most prepared Olympic bid in history – this time for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

PyeongChang already looks like an Olympic city. With a newly built ski jump tower along the skyline and recently built world-class cross-country ski facilities that have hosted major competitions – PyeongChang is arguably more prepared than Sochi is for the Games it will host in 2014.

Sure, the Koreans told us that win or lose; they would build the facilities anyways. But many aspiring Winter Games hosts usually pay the same lip service to show the IOC that they are serious –and just as often – they don’t follow through.

Now PyeongChang has developed world-class sports infrastructure including an IOC hotel at a brand new ski resort; an inspiring “Dream Program” that gives children from countries with hot climates a chance to experience winter sports; and a population that has dedicated itself to winning an Olympic bid.

PyeongChang is an immediate favorite to win the 2018 Winter Games bid.

Tomorrow we count down #6 and #5.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.