Pyeongchang, South Korea to Host 2018 Winter Olympics

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By Jeff Schapiro, Christian Post Reporter
July 6, 2011|11:56 am

In only one round of voting, members of the International Olympic Committee agreed Wednesday morning that Pyeongchang, South Korea, will host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

The vote, which was cast today as a part of the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa, was between the French city of Annecy, the city of Munich, Germany, and Pyeongchang.

Simon Clegg, a former British Olympic Association chief executive, told BBC Radio 5 that Pyeongchang always had a good chance at receiving the honor.

"Any bid by a Korean city is always a strong bid because the Korean government get fully behind their bid," he said. "They see it as a vehicle for achieving many things, not just sporting prowess, but also making sure the world is focused on South Korea and perhaps less on some of the challenges that they face across the border."

Prior to today, Pyeongchang had been in the running in the last two host-city selections, losing to Vancouver for the 2010 games and the Russian city of Sochi for the games coming up in 2014.

Before the vote, Munich was considered by many to be Pyeongchang's toughest competition, as Annecy was the only city of the three whose application wasn't accepted without reservations. Annecy had hoped to become the fourth French city to host the Winter Games, while Munich had hoped to become the first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

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Both cities will have to wait for now, as Pyeongchang has earned the opportunity to promote itself and show off some of the world's greatest athletes in the 2018 Winter Games.

[UPDATE] 7/6 2:00 p.m.

Pyeongchang's bid won overwhelmingly, receiving 63 of the 95 votes that were cast. Munich came in second with 25 while Annecy finished last with seven.

After the signing of the host city's contract, Yang Ho Cho, the bid chairman for Pyeongchang, said during a press conference that he was surprised by the overwhelming support that his city received from IOC voters.

IOC President Jacques Rogge also expressed his surprise at how easily the South Koreans won. “I did not expect a victory in the first round, frankly speaking,” he said.

It seems that the third time is indeed the charm for South Korean officials, who say they had learned a lot from their past bid failures.

“Today our effort and commitment to hosting the Olympic Games has been rewarded,” said Cho. “I had some confidence, but I did not expect this number [of votes].”

He attributed the city's success, in part, to patience and the overwhelming support from his country's citizens.

Korean Olympic Committee President Yong-Sung Park added that it was previously thought that only larger, wealthier countries could host the games, but the selection of Pyeongchang proves that “even those developing countries with a good program and a good campaign, they can have the games in the future. So it's a great, gives a great chance to those developing nations for their hope to organize the Winter Games or Summer Games in the future.”

 

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