Munich's 2018 Winter Olympics bid committee has handed over the city's bid book to Olympic officials. Negotiations with land owners who oppose the Games in their backyards continue ahead of the IOC's decision in July.
Witt said the bid promised a 'Festival of Friendship'
German ice skating legend Katharina Witt was among delegates from Munich's 2018 Winter Olympics bid committee on hand in Lausanne Tuesday to hand over the city's bid book to officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"The Munich 2018 bid book has three outstanding assets," Witt said shortly after delivering the book. "A world-class athlete experience designed by world-class athletes; a uniquely dynamic plan that offers the IOC an historic sustainability showcase; and a promise of a Festival of Friendship that will unite the sporting world in a celebration of [the Olympics] before, during and after the Games."
Tuesday marked the last day for the candidate cities to submit their bid books to the IOC. In addition to Munich, Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Annecy, France, are in the running to host the Winter Games in 2018.
The bid book outlines a city's proposed plan for the Games and includes financial guarantees requested by the IOC from the cities and governments.
Munich would become the first city to host both Olympic Games
In addition to Witt, who serves as the bid committee's chair, the committee's CEO Bernhard Schwank was in Lausanne to personally deliver the bid book.
"The bid book is very important for the bid process," Schwank said in Lausanne. "Everything that we have to offer the Olympic world in 2018 is in there."
Munich's bid book is a 396 page document that will be given to every IOC delegate voting on the 2018 host city. In it, the Munich bid committee details its plan to carry out the Olympics over three separate areas, all under the Munich 2018 banner.
Should Munich be awarded the Olympics for 2018, it would become the first city to host both the summer and winter Games. Munich hosted the summer Olympics in 1972, and would incorporate some of the old Olympic venues into its 2018 competition.
"For the first time in Olympic history, Munich 2018 will demonstrate how Olympic venues (from our 1972 Summer Games) can be transformed into Winter Games venues," Schwank said in a statement on the Munich 2018 website.
In addition to venues in the city, Munich's bid envisions conducting the bobsled, luge, and skeleton events in Schoenau on Lake Koenigssee. Alpine and Nordic skiing, as well as ski jumping and the biathlon, would be held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Both alternative sites are about an hour's drive from Munich.
Unyielding land owners
However, a sticking point in Munich's bid remains to be resolved. In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, several land owners are refusing to agree to give up their land for use during the Olympics. This affects parts near some of the areas slated to be used in competition, including Garmisch-Partenkirchen's famous Kandahar ski run.
Land owners in Garmisch want to preserve plots like this one
Negotiations have been going for months between bid organizers and local land owners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, casting a shadow over Munich's bid showcase. The bid committee had hoped the issue would be resolved by the time the bid book was delivered in Lausanne.
In a December 23 letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge sent by Ludwig Seitz, a lawyer representing 59 land owners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Seitz said that the plans outlined in the bid book include areas that will not be available, rendering the Kandahar and Hausberg ski areas as well as the ski jumping station Gudiberg unusable. He also added that a 'plan B' conceived by the Munich Bid Committee was 'unrealistic.'
However, Schwank isn't concerned that resistance from land owners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen will hinder Munich's chances of getting the Olympics.
"Even if the handful of land owners that are involved in our plans decide not to cooperate, we can guarantee the availability of the areas we need," Schwank said in German broadcaster ZDF's sports program over the weekend.
Key IOC visit ahead
The eleven members of the IOC'S evaluating committee will visit the candidate sites in February and March. The committee's visit to Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen is scheduled to take place just after Garmisch-Partenkirchen hosts the Alpine Skiing World Championships in February.
Schwank is confident Munich's bid can move forward
Following the visits, the evaluating committee will issue a report to the rest of the IOC delegates which will further help determine which city will get the Olympics.
The final vote to determine the 2018 host city will take place on July 6 at a meeting of the IOC in Durban, South Africa.
Author: Matt Zuvela (AP, AFP, dpa, sid)
Editor: Michael Lawton