The South Korean city of Pyeongchang was awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics, taking the games to a new territory in Asia after failing in two previous attempts.
Pyeongchang defeated rivals Munich and Annecy, France, in a landslide in the first round of a secret ballot of the International Olympic Committee.
Needing 48 votes for victory, Pyeongchang received 63 of the 95 votes cast. Munich received 25 and Annecy seven.
The Koreans had lost narrowly in previous bids for the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
Pyeongchang will be the first city in Asia outside Japan to host the Winter Games. Japan held the games in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.
Korean delegates erupted in cheers in the conference hall after IOC President Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope and read the words: “The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in 2018 are awarded to the city of Pyeongchang.”
Waving Korean flags and wearing bid scarves, the Pyeongchang delegates broke into chants. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak shook hands with reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, who was in tears.
It was the first time an Olympic bid race with more than two finalists was decided in the first round since 1995, when Salt Lake City defeated three others to win the 2002 Winter Games.
Had no majority been reached in the opening round, the city with the fewest votes would have been eliminated and the two remaining cities gone to a second and final ballot.
Pyeongchang had been determined to win in the first round after its previous two defeats. The Koreans had led in each of the first rounds in the votes for the 2010 and 2014 Games but then lost in the final ballots to Vancouver and Sochi.
Pyeongchang, whose slogan is “New Horizons,” campaigned on the theme that it deserved to win on a third try and will spread the Olympics to a lucrative new market in Asia and become a hub for winter sports in the region.
In their presentation to the IOC before the vote, Pyeonchang delegates asked the IOC to reward the country’s persistence after 10 years of bidding.
Going last in the presentations, Pyeongchang hammered home the message that South Korea has shown its determination time and again.
President Lee, speaking entirely in English, recalled the impact on his country of hosting the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
“Now Korea wants to give back to the Olympic movement and to the world,” he said. “Pyeongchang 2018 is a national priority of the Korean government and has been so for the last 10 years. I guarantee you the full and unconditional support of the Korean government.
Pyeongchang displayed a world map showing where the 21 Winter Olympics have been held — 19 in traditional markets in Europe and North America and only two in Asia.
“If any region needs replenishment, we humbly propose that it is Asia,” bid spokeswoman Theresa Rah said.