Was Leipzig the wrong German choice?

19th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 May 2004 , HAMBURG - Another German Olympic bid - another flop. That's how at least part of the German media on Wednesday reacted to the elimination of Leipzig from the bidders for the 2012 Games by the International Olympic Committee. The end of Leipzig's ambitions came 11 years after Berlin crashed out in a first round of voting for the 2000 Games. "Are we really too bad for the Olympics," asked the Bild daily. The Stuttgarter Zeitung said: "Germany and the Olympics - after Munich 1972 it is more and

19 May 2004

HAMBURG - Another German Olympic bid - another flop.

That's how at least part of the German media on Wednesday reacted to the elimination of Leipzig from the bidders for the 2012 Games by the International Olympic Committee.

The end of Leipzig's ambitions came 11 years after Berlin crashed out in a first round of voting for the 2000 Games.

"Are we really too bad for the Olympics," asked the Bild daily.

The Stuttgarter Zeitung said: "Germany and the Olympics - after Munich 1972 it is more and more turning into a misunderstanding."

The Munich Games were the last on German soil, with Berlin hosting the 1936 edition and Garmisch-Partenkirchen the 1936 Winter Olympics.

Leipzig officials and politicians tried to put up a brave face, naming the bid successful because it strengthened the image of the city and the eastern German region.

"The city has already profited in the area of sports venues and infrastructure," said the prime minister of Saxony, Georg Milbradt.

Leipzig never really stood a chance as the IOC pointed out mercilessly that the city with a population of 500,000 was simply too small to stage the Games, especially in respect of accommodation and transportation.

As a result, the criticism is concentrating on the German Olympic Committee for selecting Leipzig in the first place.

"It is not so much the fault of the 500,000-city that it did not meet the technical requirements, it is rather a slap in the face of the NOC and its president Klaus Steinbach," said the Frankfurter Rundschau daily.

Several experts had warned from the outset that the NOC's vote in April 2003 in favour of Leipzig over Hamburg (as well as Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf) - as popular as it was domestically - would undermine Germany's chances on the international stage.

Hamburg, with a population of 1.7 million, could have provided better infrastructure and accommodation. As a major port city it is also known better around the world than Leipzig.

"The question arises again whether it was wise to chose Leipzig instead of Hamburg," said the Darmstaedter Echo daily.

That even more as it was known at the time that the German bidder would face such famous cities as New York, London, Paris, Moscow, Madrid (who are now official candidate cities), Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Havana (who were also eliminated).

Leipzig tried to impress with compact Games on a smaller scale than the previous editions, seemingly according to the desire of IOC president Jacques Rogge, who aims to end the gigantism.

But Rogge simply said that Leipzig was not able to stage "excellent Games" at the moment, a criteria the candidate cities must meet.

The NOC said on it will make a decision next year about a future Olympic bid from Germany, but that might require a long wait.

After all, Paris is favoured to win the 2012 edition for Europe, the 2016 Games would then be staged in a non-European country, and the IOC may no longer be able to overlook the Third World in 2020.

The next possible German chance would then be in 2024.

DPA

Subject: German news

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