POSTED: January 11th 2011
Witt hails Munich's X Factor as bid book completes 2018 set for IOC
KEIR RADNEDGE in Lausanne / Sports Features Communications
LAUSANNE, Jan 11: Munich has the X Factor which can make the crucial difference when the International Olympic Committee meets in Durban in July to decide the host for the 2018 winter Games.
That is the message which Katarina Witt believes her team can translate from bid book words into practical reality - first when the evaluation commission arrives in March then when it comes to the vote.
Munich, on Tuesday, followed on from rivals Annecy and PyeongChang in handing over the official bid book in Lausanne. They all tick the boxes of legacy, sustainability and compact facilities but Munich believes it has a further plus in the city’s heritage and one of the most knowledgeable winter sports audiences to be found anywhere.
Bid chair Witt says: “It’s so important for the athletes to have an audience which understands. As an athlete you realise very quickly if the audience knows when things go right or wrong. But when they support you and it’s a great vibe to share with people who share the same passion.
“In Munich we have had so many winter championships and we have had full stadiums and TV ratings which prove how much people love winter sports. It’s one thing to have state of the art stadiums but it’s something else entirely to also have the soul and heart which brings the breath of life into them.”
Witt is diplomatically careful not to infringe the rules and regulations of bidding diplomacy but she has every right to take pride in her country’s sporting heritage.
She says: “Of course there are sports fanatics all over the world but we have a very broad audience interested in the entire realm of winter sport – whether its skiing, or ski jumping or bobsleigh or speed skating. For an athlete that is so much more rewarding . . . and that’s what an athlete wants: the reward of the atmosphere and the cheers.”
Handing over the bid book was, for Witt, “a big statement.” She added: “This is what we will be judged on when the commission comes and takes a look and asks all its questions. There is no standing still and sitting back. You can take a quick little breath but that’s all.
“This is just one chapter closed and now we have to open up a new one, to deliver what we have written.”
The past month has been an exciting time for Munich with high-class competition in the four hills ski jump, the parallel slalom and the bobsleigh – when Witt sat in for one mind-blowing ride.
She said she needed helping out at the finish, she was so dizzy. She hopes to replicate that feeling, of course, in Durban in July: dizzy with success.
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