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Sochi, Russia  Awarded 2014 Winter Olympics


The International Olympic Committee has selected the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi to host the 2014 Winter games. In Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports that Russia edged out Austria and South Korea to win its first Olympic Winter games.

The crucial task for delegates at the annual meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was to select the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Nearly 100 delegates cast ballots to chose among the three finalists: the Russian city of Sochi, Pyeongchang in South Korea, and the Austrian town of Salzburg.

After several rounds of balloting at the meeting in Guatemala City,Guatemala, I.O.C. president Jacques Rogge read the name of the winning city.

"The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in 2014 are awarded to the city of Sochi," said Jacques Rogge.

Earlier, Russia's President Vladimir Putin spoke to Olympic delegates in the Central American capital to make the case for the Black Sea resort town, but returned to Moscow before the results were announced. He said that Sochi has ideal weather conditions for the winter games, and said he has gone skiing several times in the resort town. Putin said Russia plans to spend about $12 billion to make sure the 2014 games are a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience.

The leaders of South Korea and Austria also traveled to Guatemala City to lobby for their cities.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said holding the games in Pyeongchang, near the border with North Korea, would promote peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

Austrian delegates noted that the Alpine nation has hosted two Winter Olympics before, and stressed that many of the facilities needed for the games are already in place.

Austria's bid was rejected in early voting Wednesday, and delegates continued to cast ballots on the remaining two cities until reaching a majority.

Some Austrian delegates wept after their city was eliminated, and officials complained that the selection process favors large nations with greater spending power over smaller ones.

Both Salzburg and Pyeongchang competed and lost in the election to host the 2010 winter games.

The next Winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010.

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