The organisers of the Bern 2010 Winter Olympic bid have met their first major deadline by submitting a detailed questionnaire to the International Olympic Committee.
Project leader Martin Hodler told swissinfo of his confidence in the Bern bid following the handover of the document which provides answers to 22 detailed questions posed by the IOC.
"I think the questionnaire shows that our bid has many, many strengths," Hodler insisted. "Our sports concept is nearly as good, if not better, than that of Salt Lake City (host of the last Winter Olympics) and the situation with regard to transport is certainly much more favourable here in Bern.
"The questionnaire plays a very important role in the bid," Hodler added, "because it's the questionnaires that decide which bids receive candidate status from the IOC (on August 29), and if we don't get candidate status then the whole project is over."
The IOC questions are divided into six main groups, dealing with the reasons behind the bids, their political support, general infrastructure, sporting facilities, logistics (such as accommodation) and financing. Both the questions and the Bern team's answers can be downloaded from the bid website (see links below).
Bern 2010 general director Dres von Weissenfluh believes one of the Swiss bid's greatest strengths lies in the already existing infrastructure and sporting facilities.
"The questionnaire makes it clear that much of the infrastructure involved in our bid is already in place and many of the new facilities are due to be built regardless of whether the Olympics come to Bern or not," von Weissenfluh told swissinfo. "That means we have a very low investment budget, which I think is something that fits in very well with the IOC's new way of thinking."
While initial support from the Swiss political world has been strong, the Bern team know that there is always the danger of a public vote coming out against state financing for the Games. By calling for their own vote in the autumn, however, the bid organisers hope to secure popular backing before handing in their final dossier to the IOC in February 2003.
Bern are already being considered among the favourites alongside Vancouver and Salzburg to host the 2008 Games. A further five bids (from Andorra, Spain, Bosnia, South Korea and China) have also been put before the IOC, which will make its final decision on July 2, 2003.
by Mark Ledsom