Visions of snow and ice fluttered through this muggy Asian capital Wednesday as the four cities bidding to host the 1994 Winter Olympics made their case to the International Olympic Committee. All four said they were in strong positions to win.
When the committee votes Thursday, it will have the choice of the television money of Anchorage, Alaska; the political muscle of Sofia, Bulgaria; or the Scandanavian legacy of winter sports in Ostersund, Sweden, or Lillehammer, Norway.In hour-long presentations featuring speeches, films and slide shows, the candidates told the IOC's 94th Session why they should be picked to stage the first Games held in a new every-two-year cycle. Each has spent about $2 million over the last two years on attracting the Games.
All said they would win in the home stretch, but there was some hedging of bets.
"We couldn't be more confident," said Rick Mystrom, president of the Anchorage Organizing Committee. "We feel as good as when we started and we expect a good outcome."
"We have come to Seoul to win this competition," said Sigmund Thue, managing director of the Lillehammer Olympic Association. "And so far there has been no information to us that we don't have a chance."
Leif Forsberg, marketing director of Ostersund's campaign, said: "We feel we have been on an upward trend in the last two months. We feel that way in Seoul." The bid is the 12th by a Swedish city for the Winter Olympics, with none of the previous 11 successful.
Forsberg said Sofia, the runner-up in the last Winter Games vote, was the front-runner this time.
Dimitri Haralampiev, a member of Sofia's executive board, talked about close competition and said, "Who knows what will happen."
He added: "We have stressed the advantages Sofia has to offer and it will be taken into considertion by the committee, so we logically expect to be successful in the voting."
Sofia's advantages, Haralampiev said, included lots of snow and a mountain just outside the city limits -- Mount Vitosha, where most of the Alpine events would be held
All four delegations said the IOC members asked questions about separate facilities for ice hockey and figure skating, cultural and educational programs around the Olympics, past organizing experience and transportation for athletes.
Mystrom said the Anchorage organizers also were asked about past U.S. denial of visas to athletes and assured the IOC the visa problem was solved. The Alaskans were not asked about a need for new facilities, an issue that a top U.S. Olympic Committee official said earlier this week had been raised.
Haralampiev denied reports that the Bulgarians' bid had run into trouble among IOC members upset because Sofia expected the Winter Olympics in return for virtually all East bloc countries being in Seoul for the Summer Games.