The news today that Katarina Witt will take a more prominent role in Munich's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics provides an opportunity to look past Sochi and look at the three cities that will vie for the Olympic Bid. The IOC will will pick a host city next year in Durban, South Africa.
First, it's weird that only three cities made it too the final selection. Second, I'm pretty sure this one is already decided.
Munich wants to be the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Olympics. That's cool. It one of few cities that could pull that off. It would be nice to erase the disaster that was 1972 also. But Munich has this problem with some farmers south of Town that don't want a big new snow park built in their back yard and it's gotten pretty ugly in the media there. Garmisch-Partenkirchen (where the farmers are) also was the site of some events during the 1936 Berlin Games. You know, the ones hosted by Nazi Germany. I don't think the IOC will want to deal with the hiccup of unhappy farmers or flashbacks to the past of swastikas, Anti-Semitism, and tiny mustaches. And while they say geography doesn't play a deciding role...well...it does. Munich is in Europe as is Sochi. I say Munich 2018 is a no go.
Annecy gets the best website award. This cute little town nestled west of Lyon and just south of Geneva would be a picturesque backdrop for the Olympics. But it's small. Olympics are big "to-do's" these days and I worry that Annecy would have trouble just accomodating the Olympics. Geneva and Lyon, both cities which support the bid, would almost certainly have to host events. Then the experience becomes very spread. Sochi, which will be the immediate past host of the Winter Olympics come 2018, has all their events within 20 minutes of each other. Spread is no good. France is also Winter Olympic heavy. Annecy would be the fourth French city to host the Winter Olympics. Share the love! And again...there is that Geography thing with back-to-back European Winter Olympics. I say Annecy is out too.
That leaves PyeongChang, which from the start has been the front runner. This city was almost selected to host the 2010 Winter Games, winning the first round of voting in that Olympic Race. But nearly all of Salzburg's votes threw their support behind Vancouver and Vanocuver won by just 3 votes. PyeongChang also bid on the 2014 Olympics and, of course, lost that bid to Sochi. But they only lost by 4 votes! PyeongChang all but announced they would bid again after losing the 2014 bid and began construction on venues, accomodations, etc almost immediately. They've got big corporate backing, a strong bid record, and more experience with an Olympic Bid than either of the other two cities. Throw in Kim Yu-Na as one of your ambassadors and the fact that PyeongChang is nowhere near Sochi and I believe you have a winner.