Skier Maria Riesch, who won Olympic gold in both the super combined and slalom events in Vancouver this year, announced she is extending her support for Munich’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Riesch, a native of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, said in a presentation on Monday that she will “try to win over faces known nationally and internationally,” adding, “The Olympics are a big dream and I hope it becomes reality.”
Riesch’s support is a welcomed addition to the campaign that has seen much trouble in recent months. Following its selection as one of three final host cities vying for the Games rights, Munich has faced a number of problems considered detrimental to securing the bid.
Farmers near Riesch’s hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen refused to make their lands available for media and athlete villages, saying their opinons weren’t properly included in forming the proposal. The resistance was considered potentially fatal for Munich’s chances as the Garmisch-Partenkirchen alpine ski venues were considered a huge asset for their bid. Garmisch-Partenkirchen traditionally hosts some of the top ski racing events in the world, and will host the 2011 FIS World Championships in February.
However, organizers recently announced an agreement to the delight of farmers, where the proposed Snow and Media Villages would be moved to the current site of railway buildings and the Federal Armed Forces barracks, respectively.
Riesch becomes the latest German Olympian hoping to bring the games back to Munich. Figure skating great Katarina Witt recently took on a higher profile role in the campaign, following the resignation of ski great and Munich 2018 CEO Willy Bogner.
Riesch says “we women will get things done. Kati and I are a strong team.”
The International Olympic Committee will select a 2018 host city from a field that includes Munich, Germany; Annecy, France and Pyeongchang, South Korea. A decision is expected during a July 2011 vote in Durban, South Africa.