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  • On the Scene - Munich Ready for IOC, Bach Refutes Landowner Issue


    Thomas Bach downplayed any potential threat landowners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen may have on the bid. (ATR)
    Bach Dismisses Landowner Issue for Munich Bid

    As the IOC Evaluation Commission settles down in Munich for it’s four-day inspection of the Bavarian bid for the 2018 Olympics, German Olympic committee President Thomas Bach says complaints by landowners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are not a problem for the bid.

    Speaking to foreign media following a press conference where questions about the impasse were repeatedly asked, Bach said the landowners are not a problem for the bid.

    “Maybe that’s a little bit German I think” Bach said laughing. “You know the Germans—it has to be 100 percent, very precise, looking at the little details sometimes losing the great perspective because sometimes looking too much into this details. This is not a real problem,” he said.

    Some landowners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen say they will ot give permission to the bid to include their properties for use in the Games. Agreements have supposedly been struck with some property owners, while others remain holdouts.

    “Its not a problem at all because for the field of play, it’s one piece of land with 800 square meters. The piece of land was there for the alpine world championships six weeks before,” says Bach.
    He added “we have seen this at the world championships they were all going down on this very slope and they will go down in 2018, hopefully.”

    While brushing off the landowner issue, Bach and the Munich bid team are also watching to see if opponents are able to summon the 1700 signatures needed to begin a referendum in Garmisch to block the bid. The drive to collect signatures began last week. Munich leaders say public opinion favors the bid.

    Recharging Olympic Batteries

    Bach said should the 2018 Olympics come to Munich, it would give the Olympic Movement a chance to recharge the Olympic batteries—at a place where the Winter Olympics have a proven following. Perhaps a shot at the Korean bid from PyeongChang,which has yet to host the Winter Games, Bach says sometimes the IOC does not need to go to new places.

    “A part of the IOC members may be inclined to say ‘we have to go to new territories’. What they did already, in my point of view rightfully so, what they did with Sochi and Rio de Janeiro. Or whether from time to time,
    Bid environmental officials say the Munich Olympics would be carbon-neutral. (ATR)
    you need to refuel your batteries with Olympic atmosphere, with the fascination of the Olympics and create excitement for the athletes and that you have enthusiastic public.

    “And then after re-fueling, you are ready to go to new territories. “We want to create this Olympic atmosphere with innovative means. We want to show that winter sports, despite many critics, is modern.”

    Carbon Neutral Pledge

    Speaking to Around the Rings, Boris Schwartz, Munich 2018 sustainability head, says Munich’s pledge to have a carbon-neutral Olympics is the “next step” of the Olympics.

    “I think we want to reach the next step in the Olympic movement” he said.

    Schwartz claims previous Games didn’t calculate the
    Munich City Hall flying banners in support of the 2018 bid. (ATR)
    entirety of the Games’ environmental impact.

    “And for us we think this is the next step and we want to make it neutral. And so for the Olympic Movement it’s the next step for future Games and I think you can’t go back behind this.”

    IOC Schedule

    The 11-member IOC Commission will begin its work Tuesday with a series of in-camera briefings from Munich 2018.

    Wednesday the commission travels to the ski venues south of Munich at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, host city for the 1936 Winter Olympics.

    On Thursday the commission will see the plans for ice venues at the Munich Olympic Park, site for the 1972 Summer Games.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet the commission on Thursday.

    More briefings follow for Friday with the traditional post-inspection IOC press conference is scheduled for 5:30 PM CET followed by a Munich 2018 briefing.

    Tuesday evening the Munich bid holds its first media briefing. Munich mayor Christian Ude, Munich 2018 leaders Katarina Witt and Bernhard Schwank and Michael Vesper, German Olympic committee secretary general are scheduled to speak.

    What’s not on the official schedule; an anti-bid protest, said to be scheduled for late-afternoon Tuesday in downtown Munich.

    Weather Forecast

    Clear skies, with highs around 7c, and nighttime lows down to -6 are in the forecast for the rest of the week. No snow - or rain - is in the forecast.

    Written and reported in Munich by Ed Hula III. For general comments or questions, click here.

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