Kim Yu-na skates with kids to promote Pyeongchang
DURBAN, South Africa (AP)
Olympic champion Kim Yu-na was unprepared for a skating session with South African kids Tuesday, but says Pyeongchang is ''perfectly ready'' to host the 2018 Winter Games.
The 2010 figure skating gold medalist had to borrow a pair of skates before taking the ice at a rink in Durban to promote South Korea's bid.
Pyeongchang is considered the favorite over the two other candidates - Munich and Annecy, France. The winner will be decided by the IOC on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Kim looked unsteady on the unfamiliar skates as she led youngsters on a few careful laps. She thinks the Pyeongchang bid is on much firmer ground despite having lost successive bids for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.
''I think our team has been preparing this bid for such a long time and we are perfectly ready and we are completely confident,'' Kim said. ''Pyeongchang has been preparing for the bid for almost 10 years.''
A day before the crucial final presentations to the IOC and the vote, the bid cities tried to divert attention from the behind-the-scenes lobbying of IOC members at a hotel in Durban.
The Pyeongchang group sent Kim to a small rink to give youngsters a few tips in front of a pack of photographers and television cameras.
Munich, viewed as the top challenger to Pyeongchang, flew in more than 100 winter sports fans to add some Bavarian color to South Africa's east coast city.
Bavaria Prime Minister Horst Seehofer led the delegation, with German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer expected to arrive in South Africa later Tuesday.
''The atmosphere on the way over was fantastic,'' Seehofer said. ''There's a real sense of anticipation now and we can't wait for the final announcement. Munich 2018 is a sports-driven bid and that's why I am here to offer my full support.''