5 July 2011
Germany has turned to soccer great Franz Beckenbauer to add to the depth of their 2018 Winter Olympic bid, ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s decision, to be announced in South Africa on Wednesday.
Munich bid chair Katarina Witt has confirmed that the president of the Germany 2006 Fifa World Cup, Beckenbauer, who won the Fifa World Cup as both captain and coach of Germany, will be part of the delegation in Durban.
Beckenbauer is expected to arrive in South Africa on Tuesday, a day before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decides on whether Munich, Annecy or Pyeongchang will host the 2018 winter games.
“Franz Beckenbauer is supporting us,” Witt said on Monday. “He has been involved from the very start as part of the Board of Trustees, which I lead. We are very happy that he is here to support us.”
The German legend was very supportive of South Africa when it hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Witt, a two-time Olympic gold medallist in figure skating, has joined 12-time Paralympic gold medallist Verena Bentele to present Munich’s bid, which has been dubbed a “a bid from athletes, for athletes”.
“We have 125 sports ambassadors who have been supporting us from the very beginning. They’ve been involved from the start and made it an athlete-driven bid. They have over 100 Olympic and Paralympic medals between them,” said Witt.
She went on to emphasise Munich 2018’s combination of established winter sports infrastructure and a passionate, knowledgeable fan base numbering in the tens of millions.
“This season we had 12 World Cups and three World Championships, so it’s been a great winter for athletes who came from all over the world. Munich 2018 is about delivering the state-of-the-art hardware, with all the venues that are already in place. But we will also deliver the software, the heart and soul and the passion,” said Witt.
Bentele said: “Paralympic sport is good in Germany because we have good, successful athletes. There is a good acceptance in Germany because they have performed well in recent years. They show what it means to do high-level sport, whether you have a disability or not.”
Bentele added that Munich winning the bid would be like another gold medal for her.
“I’ve lived in Munich for ten years, and I very often do my training in the Olympic Park. For training there isn’t a big crowd, but to be there with a big celebration – that would be like another gold medal for me,” said Bentele.