Russians rejoice, Koreans shattered
Ecstasy engulfed Russia's Sochi delegation while South Koreans were stunned after losing by four votes to the Black Sea resort which won the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
GUATEMALA CITY, July 4 (Reuters) - Ecstasy engulfed Russia's Sochi delegation on Wednesday when International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge announced that the Black Sea resort would host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Ministers and sports officials hugged each other and laughed like children unable to believe what had happened at the IOC session in the unlikely venue of Guatemala City.
"God and our people were with us, we made it," Vladislav Fetisov, prominent ice hockey player and sports minister said.
By a narrow margin of four votes, Sochi beat South Korea's Pyeongchang in the second round of voting to give Russia the right to host a second Olympics after the Summer Games staged in Moscow in 1980.
The Sochi bid was important for a Russia which is recovering after a post-Soviet decline with strong economic development.
"This is international recognition of the new Russia," said Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov. "The fact that the country could win in such a race shows that there are no plans it cannot accomplish."
Wednesday's win was also likely to be seen as one of the major accomplishments of President Vladimir Putin, who has presided over seven years of Russian resurgency and who has to step down next year.
Putin threw his weight behind the Sochi bid and campaigned for its victory in Guatemala before leaving the city earlier on Wednesday.
"The president's role cannot be over-estimated," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "He did all he could.
"Putin is happy with the victory," he added. "There is a lot of work to be done now, but no doubt, the job will be done excellently."
Zhukov said Putin had called members of the bidding committee from his plane to congratulate them on the win.
"We are simply happy," Zhukov said. "We believed in our victory and we won. The popular support was so high that we could not lose."
Pyeongchang stunned by second Games bid loss
In the South Korean camp, leaders of the bid in Pyeongchang were stunned after losing by four votes to Russia's Sochi on Wednesday, their second narrow bid defeat in four years.
"I don't want to say anything. Not now," said a shocked Gangwon province leader Kim Jin-sun, minutes after the result.
"I decided not to talk yet," he said walking away as the Russians, a few metres further down were preparing to sign the Games contract amid roaring applause.
Kim had masterminded the bid that would have taken the Winter Games to Asia for only the third time, and the first time outside Japan.
He had the backing of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun who spent three days in Guatemala trying to convince the IOC of the bid's quality.
In the weeks running up to the Games, Pyeongchang bid officials sounded confident they could win the Olympics after losing out four years ago to Canada's Vancouver by only three votes.
This time it was four votes that gave the winter edition of the Games to Russia for the first time.
"I just don't get it," said Pyeongchang Development Director Jeon Yong-kwan. "It (the bid) was real. It was not fake. If that did not work I don't know what would," he said.
Bid leaders were left speechless, looking over to the overjoyed Sochi team celebrating the win, shortly after IOC President Jacques Rogge announced the decision.
Pyeongchang had won the first round of voting that eliminated Austria's Salzburg, by two votes over Sochi.
Pyeongchang had hoped the IOC would pick a bid that would have turned the resort town into an Asian winter sports hub.
"I am just shocked with this decision. I don't know what influenced them (members)," Jeon added.
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