Durban, South Africa – The 2018 Olympic Winter Games bid is now in the hands of the voters, 94 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who will be casting votes in the first round of the election to be held later Wednesday.
The IOC viewed presentations from the three candidates – Munich in Germany, Annecy in France and PyeongChang in South Korea – and they’ll now consider their options and make a final decision.
The Munich presentation led off the day and featured German president Christian Wulff who pledged his government’s support for an Annecy Games.
“Place your trust in us for the Winter Games 2018,” he said.
“Germany is united behind Munich 2018.
“We recognize the huge achievements of sports organization like the IOC.”
The presentation was peppered with short videos and dialogue designed to impress the main point.
Thomas Bach summed that up when he said the Olympic Games “…needs the passion of a whole city like in Munich … to create a true festival of friendship that captures the whole world.”
During the presentation, Munich Mayor Christian Ude simuated the tapping of an Oktoberfest keg, and there was even a yodeler present to add to the mood.
Bid Chair Katarina Witt who was featured in one video that showcased her enjoying the amenities that Munich has to offer for visitors.
She said “it takes the right stage for an athlete to create their own work of art.”
Munich presenters constantly reminded us that the Games must return to their roots. The overall presentation was compelling and to the point.
Annecy’s presentation followed and the outsiders with nothing to lose were aggressive and polished.
What stood out were two films – one that conveyed that illustrated the lives of the people that live and work in the French Alps, especially involving sport, and how they will be the “authentic” part of the Games.
Annecy Mayor Jean-Luc Rigaut said “People with knowledge and passion will fuel the Games.”
The second very compelling film showed regular people from around the world who were imagining and dreaming about the snow, the mountain and winter sport. It provided imagery of the lure of iconic Mont Blanc.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon spoke passionately on the podium.
“The host city must have a soul.
“The best events are those that are supported by the magic of the environment of the site.
“I have the same dream as you do, I share it. I dream of a Games with Passion.”
Bid CEO Charles Beigbeder emphasized the need to contribute to and improve the Olympic movement – and to promote Olympism.
“We will stage a great party, but it will be a party with an important and real purpose.
”IOC members Guy Drut and Jean Claude Killy also spoke with emotion and clarity – an overall good performance for the bid.
But PyeongChang’s presentation reminded us that it’s not only production quality, imagery or even words that matter – emotion counts for a lot.
In a presentation filled with tears, laughter and familiarity – PyeongChang shows they have learned from past bids and past presentations and ended up the being the most genuine of all.
Ambassador Jin-Sun Kim, the man who was behind the previous two bids exemplifies the personality behind the bid.
He said “I believe it is my destiny to stand before you for the third time”.
Then he paused for a moment as he was visibly overcome with emotion.
After the presentation he revealed to GamesBids.com that “we have walked through a very rough road coming here.”
“I was really caught up in my own emotions.”
But there were lighter moments too. Bid Chairman YH Cho wished his peers on the Annecy and Munich bids good luck.
Then he added “just not too much of it.”
Korean Olympic Committee President YS Park wasn’t to be outdone. He congratulated recently married Prince Albert, and apologized.
“Your serene highness, I’m sorry that you are spending your honeymoon listening to PyeongChang’s bid for the third time but I promise to make it up to you in PyeongChang in 2018.”
It sounds like they have already been working together for years.
It almost didn’t matter that Korean superstar, Olympic champion figure skater Yuna Kim was there – but her story of how the legacy of previous bid campaigns helped make her a champion and how the Olympics would do the same for so many others – is a key message for this bid.
Then there was Toby Dawson, the Korea born American Olympic skier who was adopted by his parents in Vail, Colorado where he had the access to facilities that allowed him to become an elite athlete. At the time, no such opportunities existed in South Korea but now, he knows an Olympics will make that happen.
“Your support today for PyeongChang 2018 will truly change the lives of young athletes,” he said.
Communications Director Theresa Rah summed up the presentation clearly.
“It is a race about dreams.”
“We know whatever decision today you make today will be an historic one.”
The voting by IOC members begins today at about 3:30 p.m. local time in Durban.