Per usual, bid chair Katarina Witt will feature in the Munich presentation. (ATR)
(ATR) Annecy, Munich and PyeongChang state their cases to IOC members Wednesday at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne – the most important milestone for the candidates so far on the road to the July 6 vote for the 2018 Winter Olympic host city.
Up to 90 IOC members are expected to attend the two-day briefing that opens Wednesday morning.
Officials from the three cities each have 45 minutes to present their bids. IOC members then get 45 minutes to question them about the technical elements of their bid books.
Munich kicks off the presentations at 9:15 a.m. CET. The Annecy team takes the platform from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. After a lunch break, PyeongChang presents its pitch from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m.
Starring for Munich are bid chair Katarina Witt, CEO Bernhard Schwank and Thomas Bach, an IOC vice president and head of the German Olympic Sports Confederation.
Annecy's pitch will be led by CEO Charles Beigbeder and vice presidents Jean-Pierre Vidal and Pernilla Wiberg.
Yu Na Kim has presented for PyeongChang via video in the past, but this will be her first time in person. (ATR)
PyeongChang bid chairman Yang Cho Ho heads the Korean delegation. Making his debut for the bid is Choi Soon Moon, elected governor of Gangwon Province just last month. Also on hand for the first time to meet IOC members is Seok Rae Lee, elected late last year as the mayor of PyeongChang. Yu Na Kim, the 2010 Olympic women's figure skating champion, is also on the presentation team.
On the eve of the IOC briefing, bid leaders kept busy preparing themselves – and the media – for Wednesday's events.
Pyeongchang arranged a series of interviews with Kim, and Munich announced it had secured the last parcels of land needed for the downhill as described in the bid book.
Annecy, meanwhile, issued a press release touting IOC member Jean-Claude Killy’s support of the bid.
"We have a fantastic, committed team in Lausanne including Jean Claude Killy, a legend of Winter sports, and a host of other great champions who have the best interests of sport in their hearts," Beigbeder was quoted in the release.
Jean-Claude Killy during February's visit of the IOC Evaluation Commission. (ATR)
Killy’s appearance is his first high-profile international appearance for Annecy. His support is seen as critical for Annecy, given his reputation as a great Olympian and winter Olympic expert.
All three cities will hold press conferences on Wednesday afternoon to give their assessments of how they felt IOC members reacted to their presentations.
More than 100 members of the international media will cover the briefing.
While the sessions are closed to media, reporters will get the opportunity to quiz bid leaders and get feedback on the bids from IOC members at refreshment breaks throughout the day.
Thursday morning, the cities will meet one-to-one with IOC members in presentation rooms at the Lausanne Palace Hotel, where display models will be exhibited and bid videos shown. These rooms will be open to the media from 2 to 5 p.m.
This week's technical briefing to IOC members is only the second ever in any bidding race ahead of a host city vote.
The first was held in 2009 for the 2016 Summer Olympics. It was there that Rio de Janeiro presented a map of the world showing that no Olympics had ever been held on the South American continent. The powerful image was considered to be a game-changer in the 2016 bid race. Rio was elected that October at the IOC Session in Copenhagen.
Charles Beigbeder and his Annecy bid stand to gain the most in Lausanne. (ATR)
The French bid from Annecy, considered the outsider in the 2018 race, has the most to gain from this week's briefing.
Of all the candidates assessed in the IOC 2018 Evaluation Commission's 119-page report
, Annecy came in for the most criticism. Its plans for accommodation and transport drew the most concerns.
The bids from Munich and PyeongChang received mainly praise in the report that was released last week.
Munich is aiming to become the first city to stage a Winter and Summer Olympics; its bid incorporates some of the 1972 Games venues. PyeongChang is bidding for a third Winter Olympics, following losses to Vancouver for 2010 and Sochi for 2014.
The IOC will vote on the host city at its session in Durban on July 6.
Written by Mark Bisson
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