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South Korean city to host 2018 Winter Olympics

From Paula Hancocks, CNN
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Pyeongchang celebrates host city win
  • NEW: Pyeongchang, South Korea is chosen for the 2018 Winter Olympics
  • France has hosted three editions of the Winter Games
  • South Korea has never hosted the Winter Games
  • Munich was trying to become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics

Pyeongchang, South Korea (CNN) -- The cheers were deafening in Pyeongchang, South Korea, early Thursday when the city was named to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Thousands of South Koreans gathered at the foot of a ski jump well past midnight in a passionate display of excitement that included fireworks, singing, dancing, picnicking and kimchi -- the traditional Korean side dish.

"This is the victory of the South Korean people," said President Lee Myung Bak in Durban, South Africa,Wednesday, where the decision was announced.

"I thank you all," he added.

Pyeongchang beat out two other bid cities: Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France.

The 2018 Winter Olympics goes to...

Their slogan for the Winter Olympics is "New Horizons."

Pyeongchang narrowly failed in its bids for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, losing by three votes to Vancouver, Canada, for last year's event and by four votes to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 games. The sheer number of locals who came to watch the pre-announcement show at the ski jump showed their confidence in this year's decision.

"I cannot even tell you how happy I am," said one resident. "Everyone came together and prayed that we would win." South Korea has never hosted the Winter Games, though the capital city of Seoul hosted the 1988 Summer Games.

Winter games gold for Korean economy

France has hosted three editions of the Winter Olympics, most recently in 1992 in Albertville. Annecy met with many difficulties in its bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics, including a small budget and change in leadership on the bid committee.

Had it won, Munich would have been the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The city attracted the Summer Games in 1972.

Representatives from the three cities made their cases to committee members in Durban, South Africa Wednesday.