News / Europe

South Korea's Pyeongchang to Host 2018 Winter Olympics

IOC President Jacques Rogge (l) with South Korea's Olympic Bid chairman Cho Yang-ho (r) sign the host city (Pyeongchang) contract for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Durban, South Africa, July 6, 2011
IOC President Jacques Rogge (l) with South Korea's Olympic Bid chairman Cho Yang-ho (r) sign the host city (Pyeongchang) contract for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Durban, South Africa, July 6, 2011
Delia Robertson

Pyeongchang in South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics.  The announcement was made at the International Olympic Committee's annual general meeting, under way in South Africa’s eastern seaboard city, Durban.

Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, made the announcement to ecstatic applause from the Pyeongchang delegation.

“The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in 2018 are awarded to the city of  ... Pyeongchang," said Rogge.

The three cities competing for the games - Munich, Germany, Annecy, France, and Pyeongchang - each made final presentations Wednesday, including promotional videos highlighting their attractions and explaining why each would be the best Olympic host for 2018.

Theresa Rah, communications director of the group promoting Pyeongchang, told committee members it is time once again to bring the winter Olympics to Asia.

"Only two have been held in Asia, and none in Korea, so if any region needs replenishment, we humbly propose that we need the winter games in Asia, to nurture the seeds that were planted in Sapporo and in Nagano [both in Japan], so that they, too, can grow and flourish," said Rah. "But this race is not about geography, it is a race about dreams, it is a race about human potential."

Charles Beigbeder, president of the campaign for Annecy in 2018, had said earlier that his city would offer athletes a lasting legacy.

Speaking in French, Beigbeder said Annecy would provide a permanent training center for international and local athletes, for both summer and winter sports.

The Mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, emphasized his city's cultural delights.

"Every year we host a little party called the Oktoberfest, which attracts six million people in just two weeks," said Ude. "As mayor, I have the honor of tapping the first barrel of beer every year with this mallet  [he holds up mallet] and of course I would love to tap a big one with you tonight."

Munich  was hoping to become the first city to be selected for both summer and winter Olympics.  Munich hosted the 1972 summer Olympics during which 17 people, including 11 members of the Israeli team, were killed by members of the Black September Organization, a terrorist group aligned to Yassar Arafat’s Fatah.

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