Pyeongchang, bidding for a third straight time, received a generally glowing assessment from the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission, bolstering the South Korean city’s status as front-runner. The 119-page report, which does not rank the cities or make direct comparisons, confirms Pyeongchang’s strong position.
Pyeongchang, bidding again after narrow defeats in votes for the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, has been considered the favorite from the start as it seeks to take the Winter Games to Korea for the first time. "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", the IOC report said in perhaps the strongest endorsement of the three bids.
As expected, Pyeongchang came out far ahead in the IOC’s survey of public support for the bids. The report cited 92 percent backing in Pyeongchang, 87 percent in Gangwong Province and 87 percent across South Korea. Munich had 60 percent support in the city, 53 percent in Bavaria and 56 percent nationally. Annecy had only 51 percent support in the town, with 63 percent in the Rhones-Alpes region and 62 percent nationally.
"We are confident that Pyeongchang would deliver an unforgettable Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games that have the power to inspire a new generation of winter sports athletes and provide a platform for winter sports to grow and thrive in new areas of the world", bid leader Cho Yang-ho said in a statement.
The report praised Pyeongchang’s "very compact" venue plans and said all the land required for the games had been secured, offering "minimum risk" for the games.
The IOC said it had raised the issue of tensions between North and South Korea, but was told by Pyeongchang officials that "the tensions have existed on the Korean peninsula for 60 years" and South Korea had hosted numerous international sports events, including the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 2002 World Cup with Japan.
The Evaluation Commission, chaired by the IOC member in Sweden Gunilla Lindberg, spent four days in each Candidate City earlier this year (see dates below) to conduct on-site inspections and carry out an assessment of the cities’ 2018 Olympic Winter Games projects.
The Report is a technical analysis which is being provided to IOC members prior to the "2018 Briefing for IOC Members" which will be held on 18 and 19 May in Lausanne. During this meeting the Candidate Cities will have the opportunity to present the technical aspects of their candidatures to the IOC members and answer questions.
The election of the host city will take place on 6th July during the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa.