South Korea’s Pyeongchang To Host 2018 Winter Olympics

The third time was a charm.

The 2018 Winter Olympics was awarded to South Korea’s Pyeongchang on Wednesday in Durban, South Africa.

South Korea, which was narrowly defeated by Vancouver and Sochi, Russia in previous votes, prevailed in a landslide first-round vote over Annecy, France and Munich, Germany.

With 48 votes required for a first-round knockout, Pyeongchang received 63 of 95 votes to win by a wide margin. Munich garnered 25 votes and Annecy had just seven.

“Koreans have been waiting for 10 years to host the Winter Games,” bid leader Cho Yang-ho told The Associated Press. “Now we have finally achieved our dream.”

Pyeongchang, a city about a two hours’ drive northeast of Seoul, will be the first Asian city outside of Japan to host the Winter Games. Japan held the games in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.

Korean delegates erupted in cheers in the conference hall after IOC President Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope and read the words: “The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in 2018 are awarded to the city of Pyeongchang.”

Waving Korean flags and wearing bid scarves, the Pyeongchang delegates broke into chants. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak shook hands with reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, who was in tears.

“I am lost for words about now,” Kim told the AP. “I can’t say anything right now. I’m really excited. It will be very good to compete in my own country.”

President Lee, speaking entirely in English, recalled the impact on his country of hosting the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

“Now Korea wants to give back to the Olympic movement and to the world,” he said. “Pyeongchang 2018 is a national priority of the Korean government and has been so for the last 10 years. I guarantee you the full and unconditional support of the Korean government.

“We worked hard, we’ll make you proud.”

Check out the video of the announcement here and see South Korean citizens’ reaction after the jump: