The International Olympic Committee on Saturday named the Swiss town of Sion as one of the two finalists in the bid for the Winter Olympics in 2006. The IOC, meeting in Seoul, named the Italian city of Turin as the other finalist.This content was published on June 19, 1999 - 06:39
The International Olympic Committee on Saturday named the Swiss town of Sion as one of the two finalists in the bid for the Winter Olympics in 2006. The IOC, meeting in Seoul, named the Italian city of Turin as the other finalist.
The town of Sion, which was bidding for the games, was partying already as it hoped to be named host town by the IOC within less than an hour.
Switzerland was among six nations which had made their final bids for the games in a video presentation in the South Korean capital Seoul on Friday.
It is Sion's third bid for the Olympic games.
Sports Minister Adolf Ogi has come out strongly in favour of hosting the Olympics. He said it was now a case of “now or never” for Sion.
The Swiss video presentation was a blend of fact and fiction. Swiss myths and a narrative about the symbolic search for the Olympic rings alternated with factual information about Sion as host town.
In its presentation, the Swiss delegation was portraying Switzerland as an economically and socially stable country, which has first-rate winter sports facilities and vast experience in staging major international events.
The video also tried to present Switzerland as a country opening up and embracing top athletes from around the world.
Sion polished its campaign after it lost out to Salt Lake City for the 2002 event and the bidding committee said plans had improved significantly.
Sion is generally seen as standing a good chance of clinching the nomination for host town this time round.
Earlier in the year, a report by an IOC evaluation team gave Sion a glowing review, putting Sion’s bid apparently well above that of its nearest rival, the Italian city of Turin.
“If the criteria are technical, it is Sion which should win,” said Jean-Daniel Mudry, Director-General of Sion’s bidding committee.
Officials said that the corruption scandal, which recently engulfed the IOC, based in nearby Lausanne, had not affected Sion’s chances.
Senior Swiss IOC member Marc Hodler last year alleged widespread corruption in the selection of Olympic cities and local media worried that Sion’s prospects could suffer serious damage.
But the Swiss bidding committee said that the scandal did not affect sponsorship efforts and that the “emotional” phase would surely give way to a more rational and factual approach.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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