This moment has been a long time coming for Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Today, after the first round of voting, the city was awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics, beating out Munich, Germany and Annecy, France for the right to host the Games, something that has long been a goal for the city.
The 2018 bid was actually the third straight bid for the Winter Games, having lost the 2010 and 2014 selections. Pyeongchang was undeterred by the previous failures, and those in charge had every right to feel that way, seeing as they narrowly missed the bid each time.
Per the Washington Post:
Pyeongchang, the third-largest city in South Korea, had actually secured the most votes in the first rounds of its two previous bids, but since it did not receive a majority, the cities that received the lowest number of votes had been eliminated, and voting continued.
Korean president Lee Myung-bak, who described the bid as a 10-year-effort, and 2010 Olympic figure skating gold medal winner Kim Yu-Na participated in Pyeongchang’s formal presentation, which pushed the theme of “new horizons.” Each of the bid cities made hour-long presentations before the vote.
The 1988 Summer Games took place in Seoul, but South Korea had never held a Winter Olympics.
While the victory is great for Pyeongchang, who has suffered the sting of defeat in the past, you have to feel for the people of Germany, who once again have lost out on a bid for the Winter Games.
The nation last held the event in 1936, and Germany hasn't had an Olympiad within its borders since 1972, when tragedy struck in Munich.
Losing another bid for the Winter Games is a crushing blow to the morale of those who worked so hard to get the city to this point, only to lose out at the very end.
Despite that disappointment, there will be a lot of buzz around the event. It will be the first Winter Olympiad to be held in South Korea, and the first Asian nation to host the Winter Games other than Japan, who hosted the event 1996.
It took a decade of work, but finally Pyeongchang has reason to celebrate, and preparations can get underway for 2018.
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