Olympics: Pros and cons of 2018 Olympic Games contenders

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The Independent Online

The host for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be voted on by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members here on Wednesday Here is a look at the pros and cons of the three candidates:

ANNECY (FRA)

Pros

The bid has re-energised itself since entrepreneur Charles Beigbeder took over the presidency in January. The budget may be relatively small compared to the other two candidates, but the 46-year-old president is happy with it and in these globally financially precarious times maybe represents a pleasingly modest and realistic figure. There are also no worries over their ability to host the event given France's historic tradition in winter sports. Enjoyed a relatively upbeat assessment from the IOC Evaluation Commission in May praising their proposal for 'sustainable infrastructure to further develop year-round tourism and to be the impetus for increased sports participation'.

Cons

The stop start nature of the campaign has not been helpful. Whilst previous bid chief Edgar Grospiron was not a businessman he at least had close links to the Olympic Movement as he was an Olympic champion. His disgruntlement at the lack of budget for the bid led to his departure just months away from the decision which landed his successor with the intimidating task of having to introduce himself and get himself known to his electorate in a short space of time. Run-ins with alpine ski legend and French IOC member Jean-Claude Killy, largely again over the budget, have not been helpful either. The Evaluation Commission noted that the proposed budget set aside for transport for the Games looked on the light side especially with the distance between venues. Lack of compactness in terms of the venues could also hurt them.

MUNICH (GER)

Pros

Highly efficient, no problems over their capability to host the event and delivering venues on time and no concerns over their being able to finance the massive project. Playing for all its worth their huge tradition in hosting major winter sports events, most recently the alpine ski championships this year at Garmisch-Partenkirchen - who were the hosts the last time Germany had the Winter Games in 1936. Also appears to have resolved their biggest headache in securing land for the downhill from initially reluctant private landowners. Got a mainly laudatory assessment from the Evaluation Commission who were especially impressed by their promises over an environmentally friendly games. Also holds a real ace in its standard bearer Olympic skating legend Katerina Witt, who has taken to her new role with the same elan she brought to the rink.

Cons

Has to overcome the fact that the 2014 Games will also be in Europe, in Sochi, and despite IOC president Jacques Rogge saying there is no rotational policy in place it is still a factor in members minds. Their bold move in holding a referendum in Garmisch came off with 60percent of the residents there voting to stay in as part of the bid, but overall popularity for the candidacy while rising still appears lukewarm and fluid.

PYEONGCHANG (KOR)

Pros

Seasoned campaigners in their third successive bid for the prize. Like Munich there are no question marks over their ability to host the global showpiece, finance is no problem and environmentally sound too. Also a strong plus is that Asia has hosted the Games only twice, both times in Japan and not since Nagano in 1998. And therein lies perhaps their biggest ace - the allure of opening up as the IOC sees it of a whole new financial goldmine in Asia. Certainly it attracted the notice of the Evaluation Commission. "Overall, the Commission believes the legacy from a 2018 PyeongChang Games, building on existing legacies from previous Olympic Winter Games bids, would be significant to further develop winter sport in Asia," read their appraisal.

Cons

Familiarity can breed contempt and induce boredom at hearing the same slightly modified proposals once again as is the case with this bid. Also have been trying to shake off the frontrunners tag and that their win is a foregone conclusion. They know from bitter experience that frontrunners do not make for winners as was the case with them in the 2014 race and others such as Paris and Chicago have also foundered in recent races for the Summer Games.

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