Olympics-South Korea launches third bid for Winter Games

SEOUL, April 23 (Reuters) - South Korean city Pyeongchang launched its third bid to host the Winter Olympics on Thursday, winning the approval of the country’s Olympic committee to enter the race for the 2018 games.

The rustic South Korean town of about 45,000 people lost the race for the 2014 games to Russia’s Sochi and by three votes to Vancouver, Canada for the 2010 event.

If it wins final government approval, the city is expected to go against France’s Annecy and Munich, Germany. China is reported to be mulling a bid for its northern city of Harbin.

Kim Jin-sun, the governor of Gangwon province where Pyeongchang is located, said the town had all that was needed to not only stage a successful Olympics but to win a bid.

“We have taken unknown Pyeongchang to world recognition through two previous bids,” he told reporters after Thursday’s vote by the Olympics committee. “We’ll be contacting IOC members one by one and make sure we win the right to host the games.”

Kim had led the bid two years ago that would have taken the Winter Games to Asia for only the third time, for the first time outside Japan.

Pyeongchang, about 170 km (110 miles) east of Seoul, had won the first round in 2007 by two votes over Sochi but lost in the final round by four.

The host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be announced in July 2011 in Durban, South Africa. (Reporting by Jack Kim, editing by N.Ananthanarayanan; To query or comment on this story email