July 07, 2011 09:00
Pyeongchang was chosen as the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics on Wednesday in an overwhelming first-round victory at the 123rd International Olympic Committee meeting in Durban, South Africa. "And the city is Pyeongchang," said IOC President Jacques Rogge as the Korean team including President Lee Myung-bak listened with bated breath.
Pyeongchang got 63 out of 95 votes in the first round of voting, beating rival cities Munich (25) and Annecy (7) by a mile. Now Korea will become the fifth country after France, Italy, Germany and Japan to host the Summer and Winter Olympics, World Cup, World Athletics Championships and Formula One car race.
It was Pyeongchang's third bid to host the games and only the seventh time in the history of Winter Olympic bids that a host country was selected in the first round. Salt Lake City, Utah was chosen to host the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid without votes because its rivals dropped out.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang between Feb. 9 to 25 and the 2018 Winter Paralympics from March 9 to 18.
Pyeongchang had a lead throughout the bidding process. Its solid presentation sealed its victory. President Lee Myung-bak, Pyeongchang Olympic Bidding Committee chairman Cho Yang-ho, Korea Sports Council Chairman Park Yong-sung, and Special Ambassador Kim Jin-sun added their weight to the bid, while the star power of figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, Taekwondo gold medalist and IOC Athletes' Commission member Moon Dae-sung, as well as mogul medalist and Korean adoptee Toby Dawson played a major role in securing the victory.
The final presentation by Pyeongchang on Tuesday, under the theme "New Horizons," was lauded as pinpointing the symbolic significance of the slogan.
Lee, who arrived in Durban on Saturday, shook hands with and embraced bid committee members after the winner was announced. "Pyeongchang's victory is a victory for the Korean people," he said. "I thank the Korean people."
The president then boarded his official plane and headed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the second leg of his three-nation African visit.
The Korean delegation returns home on Friday.
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