Katarina Witt Confident Munich Will Get Yes Vote for 2018 Winter Olympics

Katarina Witt, the two-time Olympic figure-skating champion who is leading Munich’s bid for the 2018 Winter Games, says she’s confident that local residents will vote in favor of the event in a referendum.

On May 8, about 22,000 inhabitants of the Bavarian mountain resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen will be eligible to vote on whether they want another Olympic Games.

Munich is competing with Annecy, France, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, to host the Games, with the International Olympic Committee voting July 6 in Durban, South Africa. Garmisch would host the skiing events in 2018, should Munich win the bid.

“We’re quite positive about the outcome,” Witt said in an interview with reporters at the Sport Accord conference in London today. “We have a lot people supporting the pro- Olympic” movement.

The referendum has occasionally come up during discussions with members of the IOC, 40 of whom are attending Sport Accord in London, Witt said.

“They ask, of course, because it’s been ongoing since the summer,” she said. “But in general, you will always have people who are against a big event, against innovation. So they know how to judge it. We are open about it. There is nothing to hide, it’s just part of our culture in our country. It’s democracy and people are allowed to express their opinions.”

Witt said she is confident of a positive outcome because of the passion for winter sports in Germany. More than one million spectators attended various sports event in the Garmisch area in the past season, ranging from skiing to ice hockey.

Land Dispute

Witt said a previous dispute with local landowners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen about a piece of land had been “solved” before the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships that took place in the resort in February.

Witt, 45, became the public face of the Munich 2018 bid in September after bid chief Willy Bogner stepped down because of illness.

Garmisch and Munich have hosted Olympic events before, each bearing painful memories. Garmisch was the scene of the 1936 Winter Games, when the Nazi regime used the event to portray the image of a peaceful Germany.

Munich, which is seeking to become the first city to host both the Olympic summer and winter games, was the scene of the 1972 Summer Olympics, where 11 members of the Israeli team were killed by the Black September terror group. The IOC was criticized for allowing the competition to go on after the murders.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh in London at drossingh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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