Winter Olympics Finally Heads to PyeongChang

July 7, 2011

PyeongChang have been awarded the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics  at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Durban on Wednesday evening, unhealthy making it third time lucky for the South Korean city.

IOC President Jacques Rogge announced one of the three candidates had achieved an outright majority in a first round of voting, leading the vast majority to conclude that the South Korean bid had been successful over its rivals from Munich and Annecy. As it transpired, they had secured 63 votes ahead of Munich (25) and Annecy (7).

The decision was not due to be announced until a special ceremony scheduled for 5.22pm but it became evident that PyeongChang appeared to have had big enough support to claim victory in the first round.

On the eve of the vote, one of their officials claimed that they had already secured 54 votes which is 1 less than half of the IOC members. However, due to a number of members being confirmed as absent from the vote, and representatives from the bidding nations not being able to vote, in the end only 95 IOC members were eligible. This meant that Pyeongchang would have needed 48 for an outright victory.

The last time a city won in the first round of voting when there were more than two cities bidding was back in 1995 in Budapest when Salt Lake City won its bid to host the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, a process which was shrowded in controversy at the time and led to major reforms at the IOC.

PyeongChang will be mightily relieved to have beaten their opponents in the first round of voting having led at this stage in the previous bidding tenders for the 2010 and 2014 editions of the Games, only to be eventually outdone by Vancouver and Sochi respectively.

Ahead of the signing of the Host City Contract, which sets out the legal, commercial and financial rights and obligations of the IOC, the Host City and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Host Country in relation to the Olympic Games, IOC President Jacques Rogge congratulated the PyeongChang team for winning the vote and praised the high quality of their file and final presentation.

“PyeongChang presented a strong and inspiring project that enjoys massive support from the government and the public,” said Rogge ahead of the press conference that followed the announcement ceremony. “I have every confidence that PyeongChang will deliver on its commitment and host excellent Games in 2018.”

The IOC President also thanked the other Candidate Cities: Munich (Germany) and Annecy (France) for their efforts and the quality of their candidatures.

Rogge said: “PyeongChang’s inspiring project sets out to have the heart of the Olympic Winter Games beating in the mountains. The South Korean project will leave a tremendous legacy as PyeongChang will become a new winter sports hub in Asia, allowing athletes and young generations to practise winter sports at home, be exposed to the Olympic Values of Excellence, Friendship, and Respect, and pursue their Olympic dream. I congratulate PyeongChang. The IOC looks forward to collaborating with them over the next seven years.”