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South Korea wins 2018 Winter Olympics bid

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-07-06

After two unsuccessful bids in 2003 and 2007, Pyeonchang in South Korea has finally won the right to host the Winter Olympics in 2018. The other two contenders were Annecy in France and Munich in Germany.

AFP - Pyeongchang finally achieved their dream of hosting the Winter Olympics when they were awarded the 2018 edition at their third attempt.
             
The South Korean candidate did it in style too as they needed just one round of voting by the 90+ International Olympic Committee (IOC) members eligible to vote to secure only the third Winter Games for Asia.
             
On the announcement from IOC president Jacques Rogge there was an eruption of joy from the South Korean delegation in the room while South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak walked along the stage where the IOC members sat and thanked them.
             
They are the first candidate since the now tarnished Salt Lake City in 1995 (for the 2002 Winter Games) to win in the first round for any Olympic bid.
             
For the South Korean candidate - who beat Germany's Munich and the French alpine town of Annecy - it was joy at last after the bitter disappointment of losing out to Vancouver for 2010 and the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for the 2014 Games.
             
In doing so they delivered Asia their first ever Games outside of Japan and first since Nagano in 1998.
             
It was a personal success too for South Korean president Lee as he achieved his goal he revealed earlier this week of it being "his duty and his mission to deliver the Games to Asia".
             
Lee it was who had led from the front at the final presentation earlier on Wednesday when speaking impeccable English - it had been a source of some debate within the camp whether he should speak English or Korean - made a passionate and heartfelt plea to the members.
             
"We have worked hard and we will make you proud," said Lee.
             
"I ask you for your support today so that we can finally make the Winter Olympics and Paralympics dream come true.
             
"I was a member of the board of FINA (swimming's governing body) and fellow sportsman so this is why I can appreciate more than anyone what the IOC and Olympic Movement have given Korea.
             
"Now we want to give back."
             
Lee, who stopped in South Africa first on his whistlestop three African country trip, said that their bid was all about the Olympic Spirit.
             
"It is about friendship, hard work and fairplay."
             
Munich in particular had fought hard all the way believing that their professional and smooth campaign could deliver them a Sochi style victory - the Russians had gathered unstoppable momentum to overhaul a stunned Pyeongchang.
             
However, despite the best efforts of German President Christian Wulff, German figure skating legend Katarina Witt and impressive paralympian Verena Bentele the dream as the president called it was to be left unfulfilled.
             
Annecy were never able to gather anything like enough momentum and while they showed a solid outward resilience their final presentation reflected well the downbeat mood of the camp.
             
As Witt had remarked earlier in the campaign competing in an Olympics you hope at least for a podium finish but there is no such consolation for finishing second and third in this Olympic race.
             
Pyeongchang can tell them what both feelings are like.
             

Date created : 2011-07-06

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