7 July 2011
PyeongChang: a South Korean city that will forever have fond memories of South Africa, where, with “persistence and patience”, they finally won their bid to host a Winter Olympics, the 2018 Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected PyeongChang ahead of Munich (Germany) and Annecy (France) as host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics during its 123rd Session in Durban on Wednesday.
The South Korean city won 63 first-round votes and won by a majority of 48. It will be the first time that Korea will host the winter games.
A host city contract was signed almost half an hour after the announcement. South Koreans, including their massive media contingency in Durban, were elated, as were the millions back home.
”Pyeongchang has won convincingly,” said head Jacques Rogge. “Bidding for the third time has put them on a roll, and each time their bid has improved. Their patience and perseverance was important, but this is not exceptional. Rio de Janeiro also won [the 2016 Summer Olympics] on their third attempt.”
A happy but contained bid leader, Cho Yang-ho, said: “The Koreans have been waiting for 10 years to host the Winter Games … now we have finally achieved our dream.”
The president of the South Korean Olympic Committee, Yong Sung Park, said that in the past, people thought only rich countries could organise the Olympics, but with South Korea now securing the bid, that perception would change.
“We all know now that even developing countries can do it, and we appreciate that. Over 90 percent of Koreans, including government, were behind this bid, and I am certain that 50-million of them are celebrating,” said Park.
The South Korean delegation will continue with their hard work: they have completed building seven out of 13 venues needed for the games.
The South Koreans feel that the IOC “finally understands” their “New Horizon” vision, which aims to promote the popularity of winter sports not only in Korea but also across Asia.
Pyeongchang were congratulated by their closest competitor, Munich, whose delegation was understandably disappointed.
“They were good opponents and we are sure they will stage an excellent Winter Games in 2018,” the Munich bid committee in a statement. “Commiserations too to Annecy and their team. Munich 2018 put together a strong bid, and we are immensely proud of everyone involved.
“Of course we are disappointed because we came here to become the host of the 2018 Winter Games,” the statement read. “But the IOC has decided to award this honour to another candidate, and because we are a sporting team, we accept this decision. We always knew that this would be a very tough race alongside two strong competitors.”
The Annecy team also wished the South Koreans well.
“During this campaign, we have been proud to serve Olympism,” the Annecy bid team said in a statement. “We believe very strongly in our vision of authentic Games in the heart of the mountains, with the athletes and for the future, and had some excellent feedback from IOC members about our plans.
“Many lessons have been learnt during this process, and it can only make French sport stronger.”