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PyeongChang holds final presentation before vote on Olympic host

July 06,2011
South Korean candidate PyeongChang held its final Olympic bid presentation here Wednesday, just hours before the host for the 2018 Winter Games is decided.
Speaking before International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, Cho Yang-ho, the bid chairman, offered "compelling reasons" for support from IOC voters.

"We have the most compact, efficient games plan, including our venues and transport infrastructure," Cho said. "We have total government commitment and support at every level. We have the passionate support of the Korean people."

PyeongChang, up against Munich of Germany and Annecy of France, is bidding for the third straight time. The South Korean candidate came up short against Canada's Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics and Russia's Sochi for the 2014 Games.

In the presentation, Cho also pointed out that PyeongChang is trying to host South Korea's first Winter Games and Asia's third. Its slogan, "New Horizons," is shaped around the idea that the Winter Games in PyeongChang would help develop and promote winter sports not only in South Korea, but also in the rest of Asia.

"I hope with all of my heart that you will honor us with the opportunity to share our vision of New Horizons with the world in 2018," Cho said.

President Lee Myung-bak also made his plea in the presentation and guaranteed "the full and unconditional support" of the government.

Kim Yu-na, the reigning Olympic women's figure skating champion, said a victory by PyeongChang would mean a lot to young athletes by nurturing their Olympic dreams.

"It would mean the possibility for success and achievement," she said. "That's what young people, everywhere in the world, need and deserve."

PyeongChang's presentation followed those by Munich and Annecy. The German candidate, considered the closer rival of the two to PyeongChang, stressed that the Winter Olympics needed "the passion of a whole city" such as Munich.

Munich officials also stressed that the Winter Games should return to their roots in the heart of Europe, which boasts a great fan base.

Munich is seeking to become the first city to host a Summer and Winter Olympics.

German President Christian Wulff told the audience, "Place your trust in us for the Winter Games 2018. We will turn it into a joyful celebration."

Annecy, considered an outsider in the race, said the bid is about "the future."
Charles Beigbeder, the Annecy bid president, said the French candidate will "deliver the best of France with its great mountains and passion."

"We want to stage a spectacular games, and we feel it is the right time," he said after the presentation.

There are 110 vote-holding IOC members, but only 95 will cast their ballots in the first round. Seven members will be absent, and six members from the countries of the candidates two from each candidate country are ineligible to vote until their city is eliminated. IOC President Jacques Rogge can only cast a vote to break a tie.

Denis Oswald has abstained from voting citing a conflict of interest. The International Rowing Federation, of which he is president, is sponsored by a South Korean company, Samsung.

PyeongChang led the first round in both of its previous bids but lost out in the second round when it failed to secure swing votes. [Yonhap]



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