The three cities vying for the 2018 Winter Olympics will make presentations Wednesday in Switzerland in hopes of selling IOC members on the strength of their respective bids.
Pyeongchang, South Korea is considered the overwhelming favorite to win the July 6 vote, with Munich and Annecy, France trying to pull the upset and bring the Winter Games back to Europe for what would be the second consecutive Olympics. When the strength of the Pyeongchang bid is discussed, there are two factors usually involved: It's the third consecutive Games for which the city has bid (and each prior bid has been considered flawless) and the city isn't in Europe.
There's also these pictures, taken during a recent celebration of the city's bid presentation:
A chorus of 2,018 people (get it?) performed in Seoul during a celebration earlier this week that was broadcast live on national television. Thousands more attended the concert, which was the second held by South Korea since Pyeongchang was announced as a bid finalist.
France also had a recent meeting to support its Olympic bid.
That's president Nicolas Sarkozy in the middle. Cheer up, Nick! You're trying to sell the world on the merits of France. If not for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I'd say he was the unhappiest looking Frenchman in the world.
And then there's the Munich festival that looked like it was attended by dozens:
I kid about the support of the French and German bids, but there's some truth behind it as well. The IOC wants nothing more than to feel wanted (well, other than the feel of money and a superior sense of self-importance) and seeing thousands of people gather in Seoul is likely to affect their vote more than a solid infrastructure plan. Look at Rio vs. Chicago. The IOC commissioned a poll that said 92 percent of residents of Rio wanted the Games against 67 percent of Chicago citizens. Guess who got the Olympics despite an inferior plan?
Pyeongchang isn't Rio, though. The bid and the support are strong. Nationally, it has the support of 87 percent of the country compared to 62 and 56 for France and Germany, respectively. If the bidding is close, the will of the people may be the deciding factor.