By Duncan Mackay in Durban

Jacques_Rogge_announces_Pyeongchang_awarded_2018_Olympics_Durban_July_6_2011July 6 - Pyeongchang were today awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics after beating rivals Annecy and Munich in the first round of voting at the International Olympic Committee Session here today.

There was a gasp of astonishment as IOC President Jacques Rogge announced one of the three candidates had achieved an outright majority in the first round of voting after being handed the result by Dick Pound.

But the decision that it was Pyeongchang was not officially announced until a special ceremony attended by South African President Jacob Zuma nearly 90 minutes later.

On the eve of the vote, one of Pyeongchang's officials had claimed that they had already secured 54 votes.

In the end they surpassed even that prediction with a total of 63 votes out of the 95 cast, easily ahead of Munich with 25 and Annecy only seven.

The last time a city won in the first round when there were more than two cities bidding was 1995 in Budapest when Salt Lake City won its bid to host the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Victory, which was celebrated by Olympic skating champion Kim Yu-Na and Korean Olympic Committee President YS Park and Theresa Rah, the bid communications director (all pictured below) was reward for Pyeongchang's perseverance.

This was the South Korean's third consecutive bid having lost out for the 2010 Games to Vancouver and 2014 to Sochi.

"It feels great," said South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who had been an important part of the bid team.

"I will make a good Olympics.

"This is a victory for the Koreans, thank you to them!"

Lee's joy was shared by the rest of the bid team.

"Koreans have been waiting for 10 years to host the Winter Games," Yang Ho Cho, the President and chief executive of Pyeongchang 2018.

"Now we have finally achieved our dream.

"This is one of the happiest days for our country, our people and millions of youth dreaming of winter sport."

On both previous occasions they had lost, Pyeongchang had led the voting after the first round but had been unable to muster enough support in the second to hold off their rivals.

At the IOC Session in Prague in 2003 they polled 51 votes in the first round but added only two more in the second, following the elimination of Salzburg, as Vancouver won with 56.

Then, at the IOC Session in Guatemala in 2007, they led with 36 votes following the first but, again after Salzburg were knocked out, could not build on that enough in the second as Sochi won it with 51 to their 47.

"Pyeongchang presented a strong and inspiring project that enjoys massive support from the Government and the public," said Rogge after signing the host city contract with Cho.

"I have every confidence that Pyeongchang will deliver on its commitment and host excellent Games in 2018.

"Pyeongchang's inspiring project sets out to have the heart of the Olympic Winter Games beating in the mountains.

"The South Korean project will leave a tremendous legacy as PyeongChang will become a new winter sports hub in Asia, allowing athletes and young generations to practise winter sports at home, be exposed to the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship, and respect, and pursue their Olympic dream.

"I congratulate Pyeongchang.

"The IOC looks forward to collaborating with them over the next seven years."

But even Rogge was shocked by the huge margin of victory.

"I was surprised by the one round victory," he said.

"I was surprised by the margin.

"Definitely the patience and perseverance of the Koreans has been rewarded.

"The fact they showed the vision that they wanted to introduce winter sports in Asia has also played a role."

For Kim Jin-Seun the former Governor of Gangwon Province - who had led the previous two bids and now an ambassador of the 2018 bid - it was a hugely emotional moment.

"For 17 years I have had a really rough road, really hard," said Kim, who shed tears of emotion the presentation.

"I don't know what to say.

"I'm overwhelmed. I'm just very very happy."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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