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Winter Olympic hopefuls present case in Samoa

3/23/2007

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- Delegations from the three
cities hoping to host the 2014 Winter Olympics were set to present
bid proposals Friday to the Oceania National Olympic Committee,
holding its annual meeting in American Samoa.

Representatives from Sochi, Russia; Salzburg, Austria; and
Pyeongchang, South Korea, started arriving in Pago Pago early this
week, along with a seven-member delegation from China, host of the
2008 Summer Games.

Although tiny American Samoa is not a significant Olympic
competitor, it has an Olympic committee, headed by Ben Solaita, who
said the territory will be sending athletes to compete in Beijing.

"It may seem odd to some people, but not to us" that the bids
are being heard in the island territory, Solaita said.

Solaita said the bidding process has brought 117 new visitors to
the island, which does not have a major tourism industry. The
majority of them are delegates from various countries under the
Oceania committee, he said.

All are staying at the Clarion Tradewinds Hotel, also the site
of the bid presentations and the international committee's annual
meeting.

"ONOC is committed to giving each country and territory under
its umbrella a chance to host various sporting events and
conferences, and this is American Samoa's great chance," Solaita
said.

Sochi will present its case to host the 2014 games first,
followed by Salzburg and then Pyeongchang, according to the
schedule.

None of the bid details have been released yet and officials
representing each city have declined to discuss their bids in
advance.

The Pyeongchang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Bid
Committee, led by Kim Jin-sun, Governor of Gangwon Province and
executive president for the bid, will present the potential
benefits for sports in the Pacific region for hosting the 2014
Winter Games in Asia, according to the committee's news release.

The International Olympic Committee is to select the host city
on July 4 during its session in Guatemala City.

The Sochi delegation put out a news release saying it was
brining Russia's "snowy Olympic vision to the furthest corner of
the South Pacific, bridging the gap between summer and winter
countries and highlighting Sochi's enormous potential to impact the
Olympic Movement for generations to come."