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Garmisch votes on hosting 2018 Olympics

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Garmisch votes on hosting 2018 Olympics
In favour - Katarina Witt. Photo: DPA
11:01 CEST+02:00
A referendum was held on Sunday in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on whether the Winter Olympics should be held there in 2018.

Around 21,000 people had the right to vote on whether to join Munich in the bid to host the Winter Games at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain.

But organisers admitted that even a majority 'No' vote would not immediately stop the campaign to bring the Olympics to Bavaria - although Munich Mayor Christian Ude said a negative result from Garmisch-Partenkirchen would be a, “really bad blow.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will announce where the 2018 Winter Games will be held on July 6 at a ceremony in Durban, South Africa.

Munich is up against Pyeongchang in South Korea and Annecy in France. The support of the locals is considered a key factor.

“The IOC will only send the athletes to where they will be received with open arms,” said Katarina Witt, double Olympic ice skating champion and chief representative of the Munich campaign.

But opponents of the idea, who prompted the referendum, are urging the Garmisch-Partenkirchen authorities to check the contracts already signed with the IOC to try to find a way out of the competition. An independent expert has been appointed to check the contracts.

Witt said she hoped that a clear 'Yes' vote from Garmisch-Partenkirchen – where the ski competitions would be held – would serve as a motivational boost.

The IOC is due to publish its reports on the three candidate cities on Tuesday.

DPA/hc

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