Munich citizens vote against bid for 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics
Sunday, 10 November 2013
November 10 - Munich will not bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics after local citizens voted against it in a referendum held today.
Voters rejected the plan in all four areas where polls were held, including Traunstein and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where some events would have been held if Munich hosted the Games..
"I think it was not a problem with a concept but rather a growing criticism of parts of the population with mega sports events," said Munich Mayor Christian Ude.
Munich bid hopefuls needed to win all four elections in the communities where the Games would have been held but instead lost all four of them, some heavily.
Strong opposition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen during Munich's bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics had undermined that campaign with the Games being awarded to South Korea's Pyeongchang.
But the plans had been changed for this bid so that fewer events would have been held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
But the mountain resort, which hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics after Adolf Hitler forced the two communities of Garmisch and Partenkirchen to join together into one town, was still against the idea of a new bid, voting 51.56 per cent against it with 48.44 backing it.
Munich residents voted 52 per cent against the bid while citizens in Traunstein were even less enthusiastic about it with close to 60 per cent against.
The result was a major disappointment to German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) officials who believed that they stood an outstanding chance of winning if they had bid.
"Unfortunately, this is in our view a missed opportunity," Tweeted Michael Vesper, director general of the DOSB.
Alfons Hörmann, who is set to replace new International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Thomas Bach as President of the DOSB next month, also took to Twitter to express his upset.
"The result makes us sad, especially the athletes. But now there is clarity," Tweeted the President of the German Ski Federation (DSV).
The result will inevitably be interpreted as an embarrassment for Bach, who had led Munich's unsuccessful bid for 2018 and who had been elected to replace Jacques Rogge as IOC President in September.
"The vote is not a signal against the sport, but against the non-transparency and the greed for profit of the IOC," said Ludwig Hartmann, who represents the Green Party in the Landtag of Bavaria, the State Legislature.
"I think all possible Olympic bids in Germany are now out of question.
"The IOC has to change first.
"It's not the venues that have to adapt to the IOC, but the other way around,"
Munich's absence will leave the race wide open and could help persuade Stockholm enter it.
The Swedish capital is due to make a decision tomorrow about whether to bid or not.
There are so far five confirmed bidders.
Almaty in Kazakhstan, Lviv in Ukraine and Norwegian capital Oslo will all presented single city bids.
There are also two joint bids, Beijing and Zhangjiakou in China and one from Poland and Slovakia, with Krakow as its centre.
The deadline set by the IOC for cities to declare an interest in bidding is next Thursday (November 14).
Munich is the second city to be ruled out of the race following a referendum.
In March St Moritz and Davos were forced to drop their plans for a bid after citizens in Graubünden canton voted 52.66 per cent to 47.34 per cent to decide against approving funding for the campaign.
"Environmental conscience and love of the home country of the citizens defeat commercialism and gigantism," said Hubert Weiger, chair of the Bavarian Nature Association, whose group was a staunch opponent of another Munich bid.
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