DURBAN, South Africa – In a frantic final day of campaigning, the three cities vying for the 2018 Winter Olympics lobbied for votes Tuesday in what shapes up as a choice between the third-time Asian bid from South Korea and the European challenger from Germany.
The International Olympic Committee will vote by secret ballot today, choosing from among the Korean resort of Pyeongchang, the Bavarian capital of Munich and the French lakeside town of Annecy.
Pyeongchang, bidding for a third successive time after close defeats for the 2010 and 2014 Games, remains the city to beat. Munich, hoping to become first city to host both a Summer and Winter Olympics, is pushing hard. Annecy is the outsider.
“I think it’s very close,” Australian IOC member John Coates told The Associated Press. “There are strong arguments for each of the cities. Two of them have stronger arguments than the third.”
For the IOC, the decision comes down to this: Is it time to reward Pyeongchang’s persistence and send the Winter Olympics to a new territory in Asia? Or is it time to reconnect with the Winter Games’ European roots and go back to Germany for the first time in 80 years?
The IOC’s trend in recent votes has been to move the games to new frontiers, taking the Winter Games to Russia (Sochi) for the first time in 2014 and giving South America its first Olympics with the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.