Dick Pound Admits PyeongChang Victory Could Impact Tokyo 2020 Chances

July 8, 2011

Dick Pound, one of Olympic Movement’s most respected figures, says he was surprised by Pyeongchang’s landslide victory in the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics ballot – and cautioned Tokyo about going for the Summer Games just two years later.

Pound, a former International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president and head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), was scrutineer at the vote and fully expected the race to go beyond one single stage.

He said: “I would not have been at all surprised if it had gone to the second round, but anyone watching the campaign would know there was only one city capable of winning on the first ballot. 

“As soon as you hear it’s a first-round win you are just figuring what the margin is.”

Pound refuted claims that Pyeongchang, which got more votes than the other two contenders combined, only won because they had so narrowly failed twice before.

“Pyeongchang is not twice as good as the others but you’re not throwing the Games away to a place that can’t do it,” he said. 

“They stole a bit from Rio’s [2016] bid in terms of the geographical location and the fact that there had been so many bids from Europe and the Americas. 

“They played their cards very well. We seem to be in a time when sports organisation are willing to take risks and go to new destinations. If you’re going to be a worldwide franchise, you have to take on the obligation of moving around the world. 

“Sometimes that’s risky but I don’t think in this case it is.”

Pound said Pyeongchang’s gain could be Tokyo’s loss for 2020. 

He said: “They’ll have to look at it because the two are very close. Statistically it probably doesn’t help Tokyo having something so close but the IOC is a strange organisation. 

“It kind of depends who ends up being in it.”

Paris and Annecy have now lost out for 2012 and 2018 respectively but Pound said Annecy never really stood a chance because of lack of national unity.

“You learn more from your losses. This was one where they didn’t have their act together from start. It’s a national effort – you can’t do it any more with just a city bidding,” he added.

Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, admitted Pyeongchang’s victory raised questions about Tokyo’s position with the deadline for prospective 2020 candidates less than two months away.

“It hasn’t been decided yet,” he said. 

Japan’s IOC member Shun-ichiro Okano said Pyeongchang’s victory was totally justified. 

Okano said: “There was obviously some sympathy but I’m very happy for them as one of their neighbours.”

“I’m not a winter sports man, I’m a football man but we have very good relations with Korea.”