Munich bid chief steps down due to illness

Reuters - Mon, 06 Sep 16:26:00 2010

Twice Olympic figure skating champion Katarina Witt has become the international face of the Munich 2018 Winter Olympic bid after bid chief Willy Bogner resigned due to illness.

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Witt will be in charge of presenting the Bavarian city's bid until the International Olympic Committee picks the winner in July next year, the bid committee said.

Munich, hoping to become the first city to stage Summer and Winter Games, is competing with France's Annecy and South Korea's Pyeongchang for the 2018 Olympics. Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Bogner revealed last week he was suffering from an unspecified "serious" intestinal illness that could require surgery.

"I wish Willy Bogner a quick recovery," said Witt, who won gold at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics for what was then East Germany.

"My discussions with IOC members have shown that we are well positioned but a lot still needs to be done," said Witt, who as a member of the bid's board of trustees had on several occasions publicly been at odds with Bogner over issues relating to the bid.

Bernhard Schwank will take over from Bogner as CEO.

"My illness is more serious than initially thought," said Bogner, a former Olympic skier and successful fashion designer.

"The doctors have advised against long trips."

Bogner's resignation is the latest in a series of problems that have plagued the bid in recent months.

Land owners in nearby Garmisch-Partenkirchen are refusing to offer their land for Olympic use and officials have been forced to negotiate for the use of NATO-controlled territory, including a golf course, in the area to solve their problems.

Anti-Olympic campaigners have also said they had received death threats for their opposition to the Games in Munich and Garmisch.


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