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Germany

Munich Could Host 2018 Olympics, Top German Official Says

Munich has a good chance of winning the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in its first bidding attempt, senior German Olympic official Thomas Bach said Monday.

The Olympic rings are lit during the opening ceremony for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy

Munich has every right to feel a serious contender for the 2018 Games: Bach

Bach, who is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president, said Munich was among the more favored nations to secure the Winter Olympics because "most of the venues are ready."

"We bid to win and to stage the Winter Games 2018," Bach told German news agency DPA.

Munich is bidding together with fellow Bavarian town Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Thuringian town Koenigssee in a compact concept.

Munich would hold ice events, Garmisch-Partenkirchen snow events and Koenigssee sliding events.

The German bid will not stand unopposed, however, with a host of other European and Asian countries, including France and China, also said to be preparing bids for 2018.

The IOC is to decide on the host city at a session in Durban, South Africa, in 2011.

If the Bavarian capital is successful it would be the first city in history to host both summer and winter Olympics, following the 1972 Games.

"(The bid) follows in the Olympic tradition from 1972, which, up to the terrible attack by Palestinian (militants) on the Israeli team, was remembered for its cheerful atmosphere," said Bach, who is also president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation.

Berlin success could boost Munich hopes

Thomas Bach, President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation

Bach says a successful Berlin World Championships would not harm Munich's cause

Bach said that a successful IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin in 2009 could give a boost to Munich's 2018 Games hopes.

"Everyone in German sports is interested in the Worlds being a success and that Germany presents itself as a likeable, friendly and well-organized host," he told DPA.

Looking back, Bach hailed the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as "a great event" with the Chinese hosts offering "outstanding hospitality" and "brilliant conditions" for the athletes.

He said the event had helped China open up to the world and raised its environmental consciousness.

Bach added that the Olympic Games concept was able to have a positive effect on human rights conditions, but "could not offer solutions for political problems," especially if politics itself had not solved such issues.

The Beijing Games were held with a backdrop of ongoing tensions over the independence movement in Tibet and concerns over freedom of expression in China.

But Bach went on to issue a warning to London 2012 Games organizers, insisting that it would be difficult to top the class and grandeur of the Beijing Games.

"My advice to London is to do it differently. It is part of the Olympic fascination that each country brings its own understanding of culture and sports into the organization," Bach said.

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