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  • Final Sprint for 2018 Olympic Bids


    Chantal Jouanno. (ATR)
    Sports Minister Optimistic for Annecy 2018

    French sports minister Chantal Jouanno tells Around the Rings she is not worried about the lobbying power of 2018 Olympic bid favorites PyeongChang in the final hours before the IOC vote in Durban.

    South Korean president Myung Bak Lee is busy meeting IOC members today, while German president Christian Wulff is doing a similar job for Munich.

    But French president Nicolas Sarkozy is a notable absentee from the Annecy 2018 bid team, although French Prime Minister François Fillon arrived today to boost the Alpine town's campaign in the final hours before Wednesday's IOC vote.

    "Why should it be a blow, no," Jouanno told ATR after a sparsely-attended media briefing Tuesday. "They [IOC members] know [Sarkozy] is really involved."

    Jouanno told ATR she's received positive feedback from the 30-40 IOC members she's met in recent months. She's meeting more than 15 more members today.

    Presenting an upbeat outlook about Annecy's chances despite its underdog status in the three-city race for 2018, she said: "The optimism is coming from members of the IOC.

    "I had really good feedback from some of the members I have met before. I could see the change from their previous position and their position today... more optimistic and positive," she said.

    Jouanno indicated that the final hours of lobbying and the presentation to the IOC membership were crucial for Annecy.

    "Lobbying is really important, I am going to meet more than 15 people today. The presentation [Wednesday] is the moment when you can make the difference," she said.
    Muncih bid co-chairs Katarina Witt (left) and Thomas Bach (right) flank German President Christian Wulff. (ATR)
    Says Race Still Open

    The race to the finish line is still open says Thomas Bach, IOC vice president and co-chair of the Munich 2018 bid.

    “The last couple of weeks have created some real momentum,” Bach told reporters at a photo opportunity with German President Christian Wullf Tuesday morning at the International Convention Center, site of the IOC Session in Durban.

    “The [IOC members] realize this is about the quality of bids, it’s not about the number of bids, it’s about the quality and the timing. What do the Games need in 2018? What do the Winter Games need in 2018?,” Bach asks.

    Wulff, the German head of state, posed with Olympians and Paralympians, saying that Munich is ready to deliver a Winter Olympics that will be embraced enthusiastically “by the whole German population”.

    “I’ve had the opportunity to speak to various IOC members in the past few weeks and I will take the opportunity to speak to some of the members today to clarify some of the remaining issues,” the German President told reporters

    PyeongChang Star on the Ice

    Yu Na Kim pitched PyeongChang 2018 from the ice--not from a traditional press conference. (ATR)
    No press conference for PyeongChang on this last day of the race, but a relaxed bid chair Yang Ho Cho tells Around the Rings in the lobby of the IOC hotel that he is “confident of the work of our team”.

    Vancouver figure skating gold medalist Yu Na Kim took to the ice Tuesday morning to skate with a couple dozen youngsters at the Durban ice rink.

    Kim, 21, may be the youngest speaker among the three bids for tomorrow’s final presentation.

    About 60 members of the media from Korea are in Durban – and nearly all of them were at the ice rink to report on Kim’s skate session. British bid consultant Mike Lee was on hand to help manage the media crush.

    With reporting from Ed Hula and Mark Bisson in Durban.

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