Three Cities Vie for 2018 Olympic Winter Games

This week, the International Olympic Committee announced that three cities will bid for the right to host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The last bid, for the 2016 Olympic Games, was won by Rio de Janeiro in the fall of 2009.

The Winter Games of 2018 will unfold in Annecy, France, Munich, Germany or PyeongChang, Republic of Korea. All applicant cities will be held to the standard, it’s been suggested, set by the very successful Vancouver Games of 2010.

A snapshot of the three applicant cities:

It is the third straight bid for Pyeongchang. Early prognostications have it as favourite to win the 2018 bid, after being so close in the past two votes for Winter Games. Pyeongchang lost to Sochi by four votes (2014) and to Vancouver by three votes (2010).

Pyeongchang is actually a county in Gangwon province, about 180 km east of Seoul, within the Taebaek mountain range. You can already see a ski jumping tower built, now a defining landmark there. Under construction is an Olympic stadium at the base of the hill, as Pyeongchang has gone ahead with remaking itself in an Olympic winter image.

If Munich wins the bid, it will become the first city in the world to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games. Thirty-eight years ago, it staged the 1972 Olympic Games where the Soviet Union won the medal count with 99 and both East and West Germany competed as nations.

The city of 1.25 million people is the capital of Bavaria and home to the world-famous Oktoberfest celebration. Its 2018 bid is led, among others, by two-time Olympic champion figure skater Katarina Witt. The mountain portion of Munich’s bid are the resorts of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Koenigssee. In fact, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was an Olympic host in itself, back in 1936. There, Canada’s sole medal was silver, in men’s ice hockey.

The French resort of Annecy is a picturesque town bounded on all sides by the French Alps, and sits on the turquoise waters of Lac D’Annecy.

It is Annecy’s first Olympic bid and if successful would be France’s fourth turn as host. Previous Winter Games have taken place in Albertville (1992), Grenoble (1968) and Chamonix (1924). Its bid is led by Olympic champion freestyle mogullist Edgar Grospiron, who won gold in Albertville. The bid proposes using eight nearby ski resorts, including Chamonix.

The decision will be made July 6, 2011 in Durban, South Africa.