Olympic bigwigs (and desperate statesmen) are arriving in Guatemala City for the 119th session of the IOC on Wednesday when they will announce the city chosen for the 2014 Winter Games. The candidates are Sochi (Russia), Salzburg (Austria), and PyeongChang (South Korea).
"We count on the competition in Guatemala being honest," Putin has observed rather optimistically. (He's due to arrive in the country later today.)
Salzburg has been massively outspent by its rivals, so Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer (already in situe) played the passion card in an interview yesterday with the AP:
"Is the vote for the sake of Olympic ideals or is it for geopolitics? We do not need to have the Olympic Games for a special purpose for us. We think we can offer something special — more emotion and more passion. This is what the Olympics so desperately needs."
The Sochi team have brought in 120 tons of equipment aboard a giant Antonov An-124 aircraft, considered the world's biggest cargo plane. Nobody had told them about the short runway with the big drop at the end!
The banner above uses INGUAT's logo: Guatemala, soul of the earth. I first spotted it on an invitation sent to me by the embassy for a cultural evening tonight which I will report back on tomorrow. It's been around since 2005 though.