Still going for Olympic bid in 2018

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Still going for Olympic bid in 2018

The bidding committee trying to bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to the South Korean resort town of Pyeongchang said Thursday that recent news reports of pessimism expressed by its rival French town won’t affect its drive toward its goal.

Pyeongchang, located about 180 kilometers (111 miles) east of Seoul in Gangwon, is in the running for the 2018 Winter Olympics against Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France. The South Korean town has come up short in two previous bids.

As Pyeongchang hopes the third time will be a charm, French sports officials this week have expressed doubts about Annecy’s chances.

On Thursday, Denis Masseglia, the head of the French Olympic Committee, told the Associated Press that Anncey’s bid is “four or five months behind” Pyeongchang and Munich.

He pointed out that Annecy has spent too much time reworking its bid after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in June criticized venues that were too spread out.

“But we are competitors and we are going to do everything we can to win with the help of a very good project,” Masseglia was quoted as saying.

His comments came only four days after two French IOC members, Jean-Claude Killy and Guy Drut, told the local paper L’Equipe that Annecy was lagging well behind its rivals.

“We’re heading for a fall,” Killy was quoted as saying. “Drastic measures are required.”

A bid official for Pyeongchang said, however, that these negative reports don’t affect the committee’s focus on achieving its objective.

“We will just go on about our business as usual,” the official said.

He said it was hard to determine whether French officials were expressing their pessimism simply to win more grants from the government.

Last week, Christian Monteil, the chairman of the supervisory board for Annecy’s bid, said the city needs up to 4 million euros ($5.3 million) more to boost the bid’s communication campaign.

Still, PyeongChang isn’t about to let down its guard.

“Annecy does have its advantages over us,” the official said. “It’s difficult to deny such strengths.”

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