The three cities – Annecy, Munich, and PyeongChang – competing to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, presented their bids Friday to the general assembly of European Olympic Committees in Belgrade, Serbia.
Each made 15-minute presentations, with Munich and Annecy reportedly pushing their countries’ strong history and infrastructure in winter sports, and PyeongChang saying that taking the Games to South Korea would open winter sports to a new market in Asia.
Theresa Rah, communications director of PyeongChang 2018, said holding the Games in Asia, “the home of 60 per cent of the world’s population”, would “create a new market for Olympic sports”.
The Associated Press reports the bid team also promised that PyeongChang would ensure access to training facilities before the Games for all Olympic teams, provide dedicated housing for extra team officials and support staff, and offer free Wi-Fi at all Olympic sites.
Katarina Witt, chair of Munich 2018 and two-time Olympic figure skating champion, called Europe the “homeland of the Olympic movement”.
She said, “it is critical that we stand together to ensure that the roots of Olympic sport remain strong and healthy here, so that it can continue to inspire the growth of winter sport everywhere”, adding that Munich would provide a magic atmosphere.
She said “we just don’t promise full stadiums, but we guarantee full stadiums”.
Annecy 2018 was led by Edgar Grospiron, former moguls skiing gold medalist. In its presentation Annecy highlighted the Savoy region’s experience of hosting major winter sports competitions and the lakeside town’s reputation as the “Venice of the Alps”.
Cho Yang-ho, chair of PyeongChang 2018, said he hopes Europe’s winter sports tradition won’t be the decisive factor in the vote for the 2018 Games. He said, “we have assurances from the IOC that the delegates won’t be biased when making the decision”.
EOC President Patrick Hickey reportedly assured the South Koreans Friday that they will receive the same treatment as the two European cities. Hickey said in Belgrade, “we respect that there is a bid city from a different continent and we can assure that it will have the same fair play as the two others”.
All three candidates are to submit their detailed bids to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by January 11 and the IOC will select the host city in a vote July 6 in Durban, South Africa.