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ARCHIVE - 2014 Olympic Winter Bid - Sochi
The 2014 Olympic Winter Games bid election was held July 4, 2007 at the 119th IOC session in Guatemala City, Guatemala and was won by Sochi, Russia after defeating PyeongChang, South Korea on the second ballot and Salzburg Austria on the first. It was possibly the tightest Olympic bid election in history - and on the heels of an over-exuberant 2012 election where the bids took notes - the cities pulled out every stop and campaigned with high-profile dignitaries and lavish presentations. It was the first election where the national leaders for each bid presented.
Other applicants that didn't make the short list were Almaty Kazakhstan, Borjomi Georgia, Jaca Spain and Sofia Bulgaria. Almaty narrowly missed the cut after straddling the benchmark they need to pass to automatically qulaify. The IOC executive committee voted to exclude the bid from the list of finalists.
The campaigning was fierce and millions of dollars were spent. Salzburg was considered and early leader in the race but faced many obstacles including questionable leadership, an Austrian athletes doping scandal, the IOC questionning bid fundamentals such as accomodations and most damaging - a low show of public support in an official IOC poll. By the time the election came, Salzburg was considered an outsider.
PyeongChang remained a strong contender throughout the race by leveraging the goodwill gained by favorable results in the 2010 bid election narrowly lost to Vancouver, and by fulfilling many of the promises made during that same campaign in order to gain the trust of IOC members. A spectacular venue concept that was already under construction was the marquee element of the bid.
But while Salburg and PyeongChang were developing their second consecutive bid, relative newcomer Sochi was mounting its first campaign and pulled out every stop by proposing a spectacular venue concept in a sub tropical Black Sea setting. The only problem - it was only a plan, very little of it actually existed. Sochi bidders tackled this hurdle by putting together one of the most aggressive internation public relations campaigns ever seen for an Olympic bid. Using some of the same PR teams that won the 2012 Games for London - the bid did some serious marketing. They recruited prominent Olympic athletes who spread their message during events internationally, and in Guatemala at the final vote - they transported a full-size skating rink in the world's largest airplane - to put on a skating show.
Salzburg officials balked at the over-spending and extravagance and instead stuck to the fundamentals. They portrayed a modern but traditional Games concept but it seemed the IOC members didn't buy it, instead getting swept-up in the PR blitzes of the other two bids.
Just like in the 2010 bid, PyeongChang won the first ballot but could hold on and was narrowly defeated by Sochi in the second ballot by only 4 votes.
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