Munich’s new olympic bid: eagerly sounded out

Proponents and opponents of a possible bid for the 2022 Winter Games are taking up positions. The conflict has not yet broken out openly.

Mmhh, delicious Olympics in Munich 2022. photo: dpa

Some people are skiing down the Kandahar slope in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in glorious winter sports weather, while others are talking about the slope in a plain meeting room. The vast majority of them would probably also be in favor of a renewed Olympic bid by the municipality, while the others want to prevent Olympic Games in the town at all costs.

However, both sides agree on one thing: No one really wants to talk about another Olympic bid at the moment, this time for the 2022 Winter Games. Last Friday in the state parliament in Munich: The Green Party invited to an expert discussion, topic: the "arms race in Bavarian ski resorts" and the "impact of snow-making facilities on the Alps".

Within seven years, the size of the artificially snowed areas in Bavaria has almost doubled, there are now 142 snow-making facilities and around 22 million euros in subsidies have been approved for the facilities in Bavaria since 2009. The immense water consumption is denounced, meanwhile water must often be carted into the skiing areas, so that the tourism can be maintained at all.

Pictures are shown of construction work around the Kandahar slope in the run-up to the 2009 World Ski Championships. "Nature was destroyed again and again," says Axel Doering, who was also responsible for the ski area for almost 40 years as a forester. In closing, he has just one request: "Help us not get another big event." Doering is alluding to the Olympics. Most of the people in the room know that, too – but no one talks about it openly. In this point, supporters and opponents of a renewed Olympic bid for Garmisch are similar.

Graubunden as a bid helper

Both sides don’t want to come out of the woodwork too soon; they know each other well from the bid for the 2018 Winter Games. Munich’s defeat by Pyeongchang in July 2011 was relatively clear. This time, the omens are different: Munich would probably be the favorite for the 2022 Winter Games – especially since a majority of citizens in Switzerland have spoken out against a bid from Graubunden.

The German Olympic Sports Confederation wants to make a decision by the fall. Potential applicants for the Summer Games, for example Hamburg or Berlin, should also not be put off too quickly. This also fits Christian Ude’s strategy. The mayor of Munich would like to wait for the state elections in September, has been talking for weeks about a possible referendum in November, but is otherwise acting quite defensively. He is waiting for a signal from German sports, he tells the taz.

But Ude admits: "The renunciation of the Swiss means a strong tailwind for a Munich Winter Games bid. Now that the U.S. and France have also already declared they don’t want to bid for 2022, the starting position for a successful Munich bid has improved."

The mayor of Garmisch, Thomas Schmid, reveals a little more: "Of course, we are in close talks with all those concerned, in particular with the state capital of Munich, the Berchtesgadener Land district and the sports sector. This also involves a compatible sports facility concept that could be submitted to the citizens in a referendum."

Opponents of the Olympics are also counting on a referendum. "After all, the IOC has not changed since the last bid," says Green Party member of the state parliament Ludwig Hartmann, who had invited to the event in the state parliament. "And our two other main arguments are pulling more than ever: the cost of possible Olympic Games and the impact on the environment." These are similar arguments to those used for snowmaking – preparations for another Olympic bid have long since begun.