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THE XXIII Winter Olympic Games will be held from 9-25 February 2018 in… the South Korean city of Pyeongchang!

Pyeongchang (population 47,000), approx. 180Km (111-miles) East of the South Korean capital Seoul (host city for the Summer Games in 1988) saw off competition from Munich (Germany) and Annecy (France) to win the rights to host a Winter Games at the third time of trying.

The result of the vote was announced late at night in South Korea, but that hasn’t stopped people partying.

Pyeongchang was edged out by Vancouver (Canada) by just three votes (56:53) in the final round of voting for the 2010 Winter Games after the South Korean city obtained 11 more votes than Vancouver in the first round. There was further disappointment when Sochi (Russia) beat Pyeongchang by only four votes (51:47) in the final round for the 2014 host city after the South Korean city had again won the first round.

But on this occasion, at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban (South Africa) there was only the need for one round of voting. Pyeongchang won 63 (two-thirds) of the 95 votes cast while Munich had 25 votes, with Annecy getting only seven.

This will be the third time that the Winter Olympics will be held in Asia. The previous two occasions were in Japan (Sapporo ’72 and Nagano ’98).

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak was in Durban to see IOC President Jacques Rogge announce (for the last time) the winning city.
President Lee said that it was: “his duty and mission to deliver the Games to Asia. I will make a good Olympics.

President Lee Myung-Bak (second from left) celebrates the long waited victory with the bidding team.

The Pyeongchang bid chief, Cho Yang-ho, added that: “This is one of the happiest days of our country, our people and millions of youth dreaming of winter sport.

Back in late 2009, The Chosun Ilbo (Korean Daily News) published a survey that said 91.4% of South Koreans and 93% of Gangwon residents (Pyeongchang’s region) backed the bid.

I am personally delighted for Pyeongchang. They were narrowly beaten twice and could have given up, but they showed true Olympic spirit to learn from their mistakes to come back even stronger than ever this time around.

President Rogge said: “The best one [bid] has won convincingly. I think that there is a lesson in the achievement of Pyeongchang. Patience and perseverance has prevailed.

My sympathies to the Munich and Annecy bid teams. If Munich had won, it would have been the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games, whereas an Annecy games go back to Chamonix – the site of the first ever Winter Olympics back in 1924.

The date of the vote (6 July) is turning out to be unlucky for the French Olympic Committee. It was on 6 July 2005 that Paris lost in the final
round of voting (54:50) to London in the 2012 Summer Games vote.

Attention will now turn to the 2020 Summer Olympic bids. 1960 hosts Rome have made an official bid, as have 2012 and 2016 candidate city
Madrid (Spain) and 2016 candidate city Tokyo (Japan). Tokyo should save their time and money in my opinion, because there will not (surly) be back-to-back Far East Olympics.

We will find out which city will host the 2020 Games on 7 September 2013.

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