Olympic officials visit 1972 stadium in Munich

Associated Press
Katarina Witt, former German figure skating great, second left, Gunilla Lindberg, chair of IOC Evaluation Commission, third right, Christian Ude the mayor of Munich, right, Ulli Hoeness, president of FC Bayern Munich, center and Thomas Bach, a German vice president of the IOC and president of the national Olympic body, second right, pose with two unidentified members of the commission at the Olympic Stadium in Munich southern Germany, on Thursday, March 3, 2011. Munich is seeking to become the first city to stage both summer and winter games and plans call for much of the 1972 Olympic park to be used in 2018 should the Bavarian capital win the bid. (AP Photo/dapd, Joerg Koch)

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Munich shared its vision for the 2018 Winter Games with Olympic officials Thursday, highlighting its connection to the past and plans for the future by having children greet the evaluation panel at the stadium that was the site of triumph and tragedy in 1972.

Munich is seeking to become the first city to stage both summer and winter games, and its plans to combine old venues with new facilities call for much of the 1972 Olympic park to be used in 2018 should the Bavarian capital win the bid.

Some of the 14-member IOC panel competed in or attended the 1972 games, which were overshadowed by an attack by Palestinian gunmen on the Israeli team and the deaths of 11 Israelis.

Uli Hoeness, president of Bayern Munich, the soccer team that used the stadium for its home games for decades, recalled how it was the place where then-International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage declared that "the games must go on."

But Hoeness also recounted some of the highlights in the famous structure's history, including the 1974 World Cup final won by Germany over the Netherlands.

"As a player and as manager of FC Bayern Munich, I was able to celebrate some of my greatest successes and most emotional moments in this stadium: Olympic Games in 1972, the final of the 1974 World Cup against Holland and many legendary football games with FC Bayern," he said.

The Olympic stadium is no longer used for soccer matches. It would stage the opening and closing ceremonies in case Munich beats Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Annecy, France, when the IOC selects the host city on July 6 in Durban, South Africa.

Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Munich late Thursday to meet the IOC group at a dinner and assure of them of the government's support for the games.

"I think the world would be happy if we staged the games," Merkel said.

After the 2006 soccer World Cup that was a huge success and became known as a "summer fairy tale," Germany now had a chance of creating a "winter fairy tale," Merkel said.

Walter Troeger, who was mayor of the 1972 Olympic village and is an honorary IOC member, also was on hand with top bid officials to greet the evaluation group, which has already visited Pyeongchang and Annecy.

The German hosts stressed that if Munich won the right to stage the 2018 games, it would keep the Olympic legacy alive for decades by combining old venues with new facilities.

In one of the quirkier ideas, Munich planners would turn the 1972 swimming hall into the curling competition venue by emptying the pool of water and laying a surface of ice.

Under Munich's concept for the games, the city would stage the ice events, with snow competitions in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and sliding events in Koenigssee. "The visit to our proposed compact 2018 Ice Park sent a very strong message to the IOC evaluation commission," said Katarina Witt, the president of the bid committee.

"The members could see for themselves the enduring 40-year sustainable legacy of the Munich Olympic Park. They also saw how the park will be transformed to leave another 40-year legacy after 2018. This will provide an unprecedented 80-year sustainable legacy showcase for the Olympic movement."

Munich Mayor Christian Ude said he had a "a good gut feeling" about the impressions of the evaluation commission, which has not commented during the visit this week.

Earlier, the commission heard from marketing experts on the popularity of winter sports in Germany and the possibilities it presented for closing the gap between winter and summer sports in generating income.

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