Russia awarded 2014 Winter Olympics
The Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi has been declared the winning bid for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Sochi narrowly defeated the South Korean city of Pyeongchang during the second phase of an International Olympic Committee vote, which IOC president Jacques Rogge announced just after 7 p.m. ET.
"It was a historic decision for all countries," Sochi bid chief Dmitry Chernychenko said. "Russia will become even more open, more democratic."
The win secures the first Winter Olympic Games for Russia, which previously hosted the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow.
After the lengthy process of lobbying that required years of work and millions of dollars, the three cities made final pitches before the vote.
While all three bids were backed and led by political leaders as well as former Olympic gold medallists, the Sochi bid was notable for the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The president made a rare formal presentation in English to the IOC in Guatemala, showing his government's commitment to the bid by spearheading Sochi's final push.
Putin pledged billions of dollars to develop Sochi into a world-class winter sports complex linking the coastline of the Black Sea to the neighbouring Caucasus Mountains, praising the area's natural setting in the process.
"On the seashore you can enjoy a fine spring day, but up in the mountains, it's winter ... real snow is guaranteed," said Putin.
By the time the result was announced, the powerful world leader had already left.
With IOC members from bidding countries ineligible to vote with their city still in contention, 97 eligible IOC members voted in the first round and 95 cast ballots were deemed valid.
The elimination of Salzburg pushed the number of eligible voters to 100 for the final tally. Sochi picked up 17 votes in the second round to obtain a slim one-vote majority.
For Pyeongchang, and Salzburg, which was eliminated in the first vote, the defeat represents their second straight in a bid for the Winter Olympics. Both cities competed for the right to host the 2010 Winter Games, which were eventually awarded to Vancouver.
The Salzburg bid was presented as an understated, small-town winter sports mecca with a plan to use the most of existing venues. But the bid simply couldn't compete with the political and economic influence of bids from Russia and South Korea.
Pyeongchang's bid proposed that the games would help promote winter sports in Asia and potentially spark movement toward peace and reconciliation on the divided Korean peninsula.
With files from the Associated Press