Annecy Predicts Victory; Vote in 2018 Poll; Japan 2020

(ATR) Annecy 2018 leader tells ATR the French bid is headed to victory...Which city will the IOC choose for 2018? Vote in the ATR poll on Facebook...Japan’s Olympics chief pushes for 2020 bid...

Facebook Poll for 2018 Decision

In less than two weeks, the IOC will have selected its choice to host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Ahead of the July 6 vote, Facebook friends of Around the Rings have a chance to weigh-in on the IOC vote.

Which city will the IOC choose for the 2018 Winter Olympics?

Annecy? Munich? PyeongChang?

Cast your vote in our Facebook poll

Japan NOC President, Olympians Urge Bid for 2020

The president of the Japan Olympic Committee uses an Olympics Day meeting with the governor of Tokyo to press the case for a 2020 Olympic bid.

"We want to show how sports can be the symbol of Japan’s recovery from the disaster in north-east Japan," Tsunekazu Takeda is quoted by Reuters in comments to reporters covering the meeting.

Takeda, along with 24 Japanese Olympians, met with Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and members of the city council. A JOC official tells Around the Rings the meeting was meant to convey the intent of the JOC to bid for 2020.

The meeting was not a declaration to bid by the Tokyo government, says the JOC official.

Ishihara, along with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the national government, must approve a bid before the JOC can nominate the Japanese capitol for 2020. The IOC deadline to apply is Sep. 1. Tokyo bid unsuccessfully for the 2016 Games.

Ishihara is in favor of a bid, but he may be waiting for the July 6 IOC vote for the 2018 Winter Olympics before making a decision. A victory by PyeongChang, South Korea could dim the chances for a 2020 candidate from the Far East.

The question of how an Olympic bid would fit with earthquake recovery would also need to be answered by the national government.

Takeda proposes to hold Olympic football matches in the earthquake zone.

"I believe it will be possible to have North East Japan stage Olympic soccer games in three to five prefectures nine years from now," Takeda said.

Annecy 2018 Chief Believes Bid Vision Will Impress IOC

Annecy 2018 CEO Charles Beigbeder tells Around the Rings he's met 85 to 90percent of the voting IOC members and is confident the Alpine town will win hosting rights in Durban on July 6.

"We are all united and we think we can make it. We are confident because our vision corresponds to what the Olympic Movement needs now," Beigbeder told ATR Thursday.

Annecy is pitching an "authentic" Olympics set in a traditional winter sports landscape that embraces Chamonix, venue for the 1924 Winter Games.

To celebrate Olympic Day, Beigbeder was in Chamonix today with bid officials.

He helped inaugurate a new athletics stadium adjacent to the 1924 Games skating arena. A special competition for youngsters was held.

"It was quite symbolic,"said Beigbeder, who made a speech at the ceremony to an audience made up of young athletes, bid officials and ambassadors, national Olympic committee leaders and the mayors of Chamonix and Annecy.

"It was mainly about why we think we can win in Durban, why we want the Games and why sport and education are working together."

Earlier this week, a group of four bid supporters reached the summit of Mount Blanc, unfurling an Annecy 2018 flag at the peak overlooking Chamonix. Beigbeder was part of the climb for its first stages.

Next stop in Beigbeder's promotion of Annecy's candidacy is the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) general assembly in the Togo capital Lome. He heads there on Sunday, returning Wednesday to Paris.

"The meeting is very important because it's the 30th anniversary of African NOCs, it's just one week before the vote and there are several IOC members [to meet]. It is good to be there," he said.

Beigbeder said he had met 85 to 90 percent of the IOC members who will cast their votes at the IOC Session. Munich and PyeongChang are the other bidders.

The French businessman and his Annecy 2018 team are planning to ensure they have met to face with all IOC members by the time of the vote.

Beigbeder travels to Durban on June 30, with most of his bid team scheduled to be on site by July 2.

Written by Ed Hula and Mark Bisson.