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Geneva still hopes for 2018 Winter Games

Published on 09/12/2008

GENEVA – Geneva still hopes to bid for the 2018 Winter Games despite opposition from Switzerland's national Olympic committee.

City officials said Monday they would try to generate public support by opening a national debate on whether Switzerland should try to host the Olympics for the first time since 1948.

Marco Torriani, president of the Geneva bid team, said the Olympics represented a unique opppportunity for the country.

"Hopefully the lack of political will is only temporary," Jules de Heer, a consultant to the bid, said in a statement.

Swiss Olympic committee president Joerg Schild said the country’s well-developed winter tourism market would not be boosted by hosting the games.

Two Swiss candidates have been proposed for 2018: Geneva, a lakeside city on the French border, and the classic ski resort of St. Moritz near the Italian border which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and ’48.

The Swiss resort of Sion bid for the 2006 Winter Games, but lost out to Turin, Italy.

National Olympic committees can submit a single bid to the International Olympic Committee, whose members will choose the 2018 venue in 2011.

Schild has said that Switzerland’s federal political system makes it difficult to generate national support for a sports project that would largely benefit one region.

Cities expected to compete for 2018 hosting rights include Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Munich, Germany. France will choose a city from Grenoble, Nice and Annecy.

[AP / Expatica]