Munich Olympic bid won over reluctant neighbors: Witt

By Community | November 3, 2010

In an interview with a group of journalists at the Global Sports Industry Congress in London, here Munich 2018 chairman Katarina Witt  said Munich has been able to overcome local opposition to its bid to host the 2018 Winter Games.

The city is competing with Annecy, France, and Pyeongchang, South Korea and the International Olympic Committee will vote July 6 on the next host in Durban, South Africa.

Witt said a dispute with landowners in Garmisch- Partenkirchen, where the alpine events will be held, was “mostly solved.” The neighbors had been reluctant to give up some of their land for use in the 2018 Games.

“They were right because there wasn’t the right discussion going on at the right level,” Witt said. “It wasn’t a bad intention. In general, it was sort of like, ‘We got the Olympics, and now everybody will do it.’ You didn’t think about, ‘Well wait, you’ve got to secure some people who own the land.’”

Witt, a gold medalist at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo and Calgary in 1988, said Munich isn’t at a disadvantage with members of the IOC because the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and the 2012 London Summer Olympics will also be held in the European region.

Munich, which also organized the 1972 Summer Games, is seeking to become the first city to host both summer and winter editions. Pyeongchang failed to win during two previous bids.

“You have to keep your tradition, and you have to nurture your heartland, where the sport has been for many, many years,” Witt said

“We’re pretty confident we will be able to deliver magic.”