Munich 2018 IOC Evaluation Visit – Day 1, Farmers' Revolt “Not a Problem”

The sun came out for Day 1 of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) evaluation of the Munich 2018 Olympic Winter Games bid. The 14-member Evaluation Commission headed by Gunilla Lindberg began a 4-day agenda to review the Munich bid book and visit proposed venues and sites that are in the Games plan.

Meetings and presentations are being held at held the Bayerischer Hof hotel in central Munich; on Tuesday morning the bid team began sessions to cover various sections of the bid book including the Paralympic Games and the general Olympic Games concept.

The mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, initiated the session with a ceremonial mallet in hand, one he uses to open the first beer cask at Munich’s Oktoberfest held annually.

“Munich is a world-class city with a laptops and lederhosen personality,” Ude said.

Multiple Paralympic Gold Medalist Verena Bentele presented on the Paralympics theme that included an inspirational video showcasing athletes and competitions.

“I was nervous, because for me it was a little like competition,” she admitted and later added that it was important to explain to Commission members how highly regarded the Paralympic Games are in Germany.

“It was a very successful day,” said Mayor Ude, “we have prepared meticulously”.

At a press conference Ude told reporters that it was important the team was able to show photos of real, existing venues and not those that are drawn or computer-generated. He also stressed the value of having the IOC Vice President Thomas Bach, who has lead two previous evaluation commissions, and Katarina Witt – an Olympic Champion with strong ties to IOC members, on the bid team.

Later Tuesday, the commission will view presentations on the Olympic Village, Accommodation, transport and the environment.

On Monday, dozens of local and international media were welcomed to Munich by the Mayor at a City Hall reception. Over 160 journalists and photographers are accredited for the event; about 25% coming from outside Germany. Twenty-eight members of the City Council attended the event – the entire Council supports the Olympic bid, the Mayor claimed.

Thomas Bach, President of the German Olympic Committee, dismissed any threat posed by a highly-publicized farmers’ revolt in Garmisch-Partenkirchen where ski events are planned.

“That’s not a problem at all; for the field of play its one piece of land of 800 square metres.

“It’s a little bit German, I think,” Bach said rationalizing the over-analysis of the issue that has made headlines in Germany.

“It’s quite logical, if I were a landowner I’d try to get the best deal – this is what negotiations are about.”

Bach also spoke about his thoughts on how the IOC might decide who to elect as host city in July.

“They are coming with geopolitical considerations.

“The IOC members may be inclined to say we have to go to new territories, what they did already with Sochi and Rio de Janeiro. However, from time-to-time you need to refuel your batteries with Olympic atmosphere, with the fascination of the Olympics and that will create excitement for the athletes – so that you will have enthusiasm from the public. After refuelling then you will be ready to go to new territories.”

PyeongChang, South Korea is Munich’s closest rival for the Games with a tagline of “new horizons”, emphasizing an opportunity to tap new Winter Olympic markets in Asia.

Bach also told the IOC that the German Olympic Committee wants to open its Olympic training centres to National Olympic Committees around the world, for both Summer and Winter sports.

“Summer athletes from non-winter sports NOCs will be able to train in elite-level facilities alongside winter athletes.”

On Wednesday, the IOC will view more presentations then head to Garmisch-Partenkirchen to inspect the Munich 2018 Snow Park.