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Three bids, 88 members, 49 days to go

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Two years ago, Rio de Janeiro’s bid team came here and put up a map that showed the Summer Games had never been to South America, a remarkably clever piece of stagecraft that separated Rio from four other contenders and, ultimately, made the case for its stunning win for the 2016 Summer Games.

The three cities for the 2018 Winter Games came here Wednesday with movies and charts and Olympic medalists by the score, the two perceived chasers, Munich and Annecy, France, looking for a similar breakout moment to make up ground against the favorite, Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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Pyeongchang’s 2018 evaluation report win

In the old days of the Soviet Union, experts from afar used to watch the grand parades ever so carefully. They would carefully parse the reviewing stand to see which dignitaries were seated next to which generals. That way they might be able to figure out what might really be going on behind the Iron Curtain.

It’s much the same in trying to divine the real meaning of the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission reports.