BERLIN (Reuters) - Munich would have easily defeated Beijing and Almaty in the race to stage the 2022 Winter Olympics if they had gone ahead with a bid, according to German sports chief Alfons Hoermann.
"It is bitter that Almaty and Beijing are the only ones left," he told a regional event on Tuesday evening. "It is now clear that Munich would have been served the Games on a silver platter."
The unusually bold statement from the German Olympic Confederation president (DOSB) comes only days after he announced Hamburg as Germany's bid for the 2024 summer Olympics.
Munich, which failed to land the 2018 Olympics, did not even launch a bid for 2022 after the DOSB's plans where resoundly rejected in referendums by the local population in 2013.
This is not the first time German sports officials have expressed regrets for what they consider a missed opportunity as the list of candidates for 2022 decreased, leaving just two cities, neither of which has the winter sports tradition and infrastructure of Bavaria's Alps.
Kazakhstan's Almaty and Beijing are the only runners remaining from an initial six with Krakow, Stockholm, Lviv and Oslo all pulling out citing cost concerns or lack of local support.
"We have to develop from a country of doubts to a country of opportunities," Hoermann, who succeeded current IOC President Thomas Bach as DOSB chief, said.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has voted in a number of reforms to attract more cities to bid for future Olympics, will elect the hosts in July.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann. Editing by Patrick Johnston)