Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who Will Be The 2018 Winter Olympic City?

When they hold the closing ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the mayor of that town will hand off the Antwerp Olympic flag to his counterpart hosting the next games in 2018

On July 6 in Durban, South Africa the International Olympic Committee will hold a meeting to answer a question many of us Olympic junkies and the citizens of the three finalist nations want to know.

Who will be the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games?

The three candidate cities in the running to take the big prize in Durban are PyeongChang, South Korea, Munich, Germany and Annecy, France.

PyeongChang is making its third bid and considered the front runner right now for multiple reasons.  The city is located 180 kilometers east of Seoul and narrowly lost its two other Olympic bids.  It lost by three votes to Vancouver for the 2010 Games despite handily winning the first round of voting and four votes to Sochi for the 2014 Games.

So they've been Olympic bridesmaids twice, and with the 2014 Games being hosted by a European nation (Russia), and it once again being the Asian nation in the finalist field versus two European contenders, the IOC may be reluctant to vote against it for a third time in addition to having back to back winter Olympiads on the European continent.

They may wish to not only seek new winter sports territory in granting the games to the South Korean city, but have one in Asia for the first time since Nagano, Japan hosted in 1998.

The bid is also being supported by 2010 Vancouver Games figure skating gold medalist Kim Yu-Na 

Munich has the advantage of having hosting the 1972 Summer Games, and if their bid is successful, it would be the first time in Olympic history that a city has hosted the Winter and Summer Games

Munich also plans to not only use some of those facilities from that summer games, but also the ones from the 1936 Winter Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen

They've also got their own winter Olympian star power to counter PyeongChang in 1988 Calgary Games figure skating gold medalist Katarina Witt.  She is the chair of the Munich bid committee.

Munich has also been considered by Olympics watchers to be gaining ground on their Asian rivals despite the solid presentation PyeongChang made.

The long shot in this field is Annecy.   Between the late start, being another European contender for the Games, resignation of the bid committee President Edgar Grospiron, and issues about an alleged shortfall in its funding, Annecy's chances aren't looking good despite the announcement of the new president of six new sponsorship deals from various corporations in support of the bid.

Annecy's Olympic star power was provided by French triple gold medal skiing champion from the 1968 Grenoble Games and former IOC member Jean Claude Killy

All three cities made their final presentations in Lausanne, Switzerland a few weeks ago.   You can bet that they will pull out all the stops, including having their nation's leaders there in person to ensure that their nation's bid impresses the 100 people at the July 6 meeting in Durban and emerges victorious. 

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