The Long Road of Becoming a Host City

PyeongChang will be the Host City of the Olympic Winter Games in 2018 and the preparation for the huge event is in full progress. But before being selected as a venue, a long and nerve-racking process has to be done: the bidding.

Ten years before the actual Olympic games start, potential Host Cities start their candidature process. Detailed planning is necessary to unite relevant authorities and prepare a convincing application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that will decide together with the IOC members about the possible best Host City. This process can be divided into two stages:

  1. The invitation phase
  2. The candidature process


The Invitation Phase

The first phase consists a get-together in Lausanne (Suisse) where potential Candidacy Cities meet and receive support from the IOC. The organization shares info material, best practices and assist the application process.  By submitting the papers, the applicant will become an official Candidate City.


The Candidature Process

After being assigned as an official Candidate City, the applicant is in an around three-year process of exchanging progress information and facing necessary course corrections. The IOC is further supporting the Candidate Cities with intensive workshops to cope with the requirements. Those necessities are divided into three stages:

  1. Vision, games concept and strategy
  2. Governance, legal and venue funding
  3. Games delivery, experience and venue legacy


Vision, Games Concept and Strategy

The Candidate City has to create a concept of how they are going to hold the Olympic Games and select an appealing theme. Furthermore, the country needs to be called for attention, as well as to build a community of interest and advertise stakeholders.

The IOC Evaluation commission will analyze the final Status report of this stage under the aspects of  vision, games concept and strategy and will forward their findings to the IOC Executive Board. The board will decide if a Candidacy City is able to go on to the next stage, or if a new evaluation is necessary if a potential Host City has to deal with unexpected problems.


Olympic figure skating champion Yuna Kim and PyeongChang bid chairman Yang Ho Cho during the PyeongChang 2018 Bid Committee press conference on July 4, 2011 in Durban, South Africa (credit: flickr)


Governance, Legal and Venue Funding

The second stage consists of national support – administratively and financially. To hold the Olympic Games a detailed financial plan must be developed since the sport venues need to be in an outstanding condition and need to be able to handle numerous international sportsmen, guests and visitors. Public information in English, transportation, hotels, new sports venues – just to mention a few – need to be maintained, renovated or even newly build.

The ongoing support of the IOC will help Candidate Cities to submit their ‘Candidature File Part 2’ which will be evaluated by the Evaluation Commissions Working Group based on governance, legal and venue funding. Like in step 1, after IOC Executive Board reviewed the submission, applicants may pass stage 2.


Games Delivery, Experience and Venue Legacy

In the final stage the IOC Evaluation Commission focuses on games delivery, experience and venue legacy. The importance here is the successful delivery of the Olympic Games to create positive legacy.

The reports of each Candidate City will be published in the IOC Evaluation Commission Report and help to highlight strengths and weaknesses of the applicants. IOC members are able to read this report to help them later for voting the new Host City.

The final Candidate Cities are invited to the Host City Election where they have to convince the IOC members in a last presentation, why they should become the next Host City for the Olympic Games. The members then vote secretly for their preferable applicant. The winner then will sign the Host City Contract with the IOC.


PyeongChang wins bid to host the Olympic Winter Games 2018 (credit:


PyeongChang’s Candidacy

PyeongChang has already been a Candidacy City for the Winter Games in 2010 and 2014 but Vancouver in Canada and Sochi in Russia were able to win the bidding. However, PyeongChang’s persistence has paid off and the city was finally announced as Host City for the Olympic Winter Games 2018. With their vision “New Horizons” PyeongChang wants to share the beauty of Gangwon province and create an unforgettable Olympic Winter Games.




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