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Third time lucky for Pyeongchang?

October 20, 2009

pyeongchangWith the race for the 2018 winter Games now officially underway, and with the surprise choice of Rio de Janeiro for 2016 fresh in the mind, bid cities will be asking themselves whether paying your Olympic dues is the key factor in getting the Games.

If so, Pyeongchang will have the advantage in the race with Munich and France’s Annecy, with a decision set for 2011.

The Korean city is bidding for the third straight time after narrowly losing out to Vancouver and then to Russia’s Sochi for the 2010 and 2014 Games respectively. Both times they failed at the last round of voting. Rio had also bid for the 2004 and the 2012 Games, each time improving their candidacy.

So does it help to have a couple of failed bids under your belt if you want to host the Olympics?

It is difficult to imagine how Pyeongchang, who have bid twice and, despite losing out both times have continued with youth and training programmes they had pledged in their bid books, could fail again. They have twice taken IOC recommendations on board, twice had to stomach bitter defeats and return to continue with their plans to bring the Games to South Korea.

One should never attempt to predict what the IOC will decide in the end, as the last two elections of Sochi and Rio have clearly shown.

But with a third straight bid and with winter Games having only gone to Japan on the Asian continent, Pyeongchang does already have considerable Olympic points it will certainly try to cash in.

Munich is bidding to become the only city ever to host both summer and winter Games but the Bavarian capital will come up against its own past with the 1972 Munich Olympics overshadowed by the deadly attacks on Israeli athletes.

Annecy, nestled in the French Alps, may only be a stone’s throw from the IOC headquarters in Switzerland’s Lausanne. But France have already hosted the winter Games three times, with nearby Albertville the most recent one in 1992, a point that the other contenders will certainly highlight.

Much can and will happen in the coming two years but staying loyal to the IOC for a decade is usually somehow rewarded.

PHOTO: A school student from Pyeonchang holds a flag promoting the 2014 Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, about 180 km (113 miles) east of Seoul, July 5, 2007. REUTERS/Jo Yong-hak

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