POSTED: February 15th 2010

Witt and Bach see double as Munich hunts down Olympic history

Two faces, one bid: Katarina Witt and Thomas Bach
Two faces, one bid: Katarina Witt and Thomas Bach

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

VANCOUVER, Feb 15: Katarina Witt provides a superstar focus as the face of Munich’s 2018 bid but it’s the power and depth of the concept which does the real ‘talking.’

No city has ever hosted both the summer and winter Games and this, according to Thomas Bach, would offer the Olympic movement the ultimate aspiration: “Making use of one Olympic legacy by creating another one.”

Bach, senior IOC member and president of the German Olympic sports federation, put all the facts, figures and confidence before a bid press conference in Vancouver.

His starting point was in proclaiming German enthusiasm for winter sports in general, saying: “You can see such a major event being sold out, enthusiastic crowds cheering not only fellow Germans but athletes from all over the world. These events would be about not just winter sports but a celebration of fair play and the Olympic spirit.”

He quoted high television ratings for live coverage of winter sports and boasted of the bid’s unified support among the DOSB’s 91,000 clubs representing 28m members.

Doubt is not an issue. He said: “We are pretty confident that, with the expertise of our federations and friendly and skilled volunteers we could make a contribution towards the development of the Olympic Winter Games. We don’t want only to organise good Games; we’re here to make a contribution and to share the Olympic experience and celebration with all the winter sports athletes of the world.”

Munich Mayor Christian Ude thought the security lessons of the tragic Munich events of 1972 had been learned and both he and Federal Sports Minister Thomas de Maiziere claimed full governmental and parliamentary support plus 75pc of the public via a national opinion poll.

State of the art

As if that were not sufficient to ram home the point, Bavarian Minister of State Siegfried Schneider boasted: “We are leaders in environmental technology and we will put it at the disposal of the Olympic movement.”

On the plus side Munich claims it needs to build only three venues to supplement all the state-of-the-art facilities; on the minus side, the Games would be founded on not one or two but three centres comprising Munich itself, Garmish-Partenkirchen (skiing) and Konigsee (sliding sports).

It was left to Witt - newly-signed-up to Facebook and claiming 171 new friends - to put a human face back on the bid with a reminder of the city's “friendly Games” slogan.

“In Germany,” said the figure-skating gold medallist from Sarajevo and Canada’s own Calgary, “winter sport is in our dna and every winter we deliver the magical atmosphere that every Olympian deserves.

“I believe Munich will do even more: I can see little kids watching and dreaming of one day being part of it. This is our wish, to fire the passion so those kids become passionate for winter sport. It won’t be virtual, it will be live. We’ll have great celebrations – and the world should be part of it.”

Any surviving members of the House of Wittelsbach, which once ruled Munich, would have approved the words of the city's two prime campaigners. It's all in the name . . .

Keywords · 2018 Olympic Games · Munich · Bach · Witt

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