By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

September 6 - Willy Bogner (pictured) today resigned as chief executive of Munich's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics - less than a week after telling insidethegames that his future was not in doubt.

Bogner, 68, revealed last Wednesday (September 1) he was suffering from an unspecified "serious" intestinal illness that could require surgery.

"Willy Bogner has asked the bid committee following advice from his doctors to immediately release him from his role as head of the bid due to health reasons," Munich 2018 said in a statement today.

Bogner had revealed his illness during an interview published last week in the German newspaper, Bild, adding to rumours that had been circulating for several weeks within Olympic circles that he was about to be replaced.

But when asked by insidethegames whether they were true he denied them and claimed that he would do "my very best" to fulfill his "dream" of bringing the Olympics and Paralympics to Munich, who are up against rivals Annecy and Pyeongchang.

Now, though, Bogner has admitted he cannot continue.

"My illness is more serious than initially thought," said Bogner, a former Olympic skier, a successful fashion designer and filmmaker who had worked on several James Bond movies, most notably a A View to a Kill.

"The doctors have advised against long trips.

"I hope people understand that my health must come first."

Double Olympic figure skating gold medallist Katarina Witt will take on a more prominent role while continuing to represent the bid internationally.

Bogner will remain a member of the Munich 2018 Select Supervisory Board but Bernhard Schwank (pictured) will take over from him as chief executive, effective immediately.

Bogner said: "Naturally, I am a passionate advocate of our bid and I will continue to support it in any way I can.

"We have an outstanding opportunity, and it remains my dream to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to my hometown in 2018."

Schwank was Chef de Mission of Germany's team at the Olympics in Vancouver earlier this year and is a close ally of German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president Thomas Bach.

He will become the bid's third leader in less than a year.

Bogner had taken over from Richard Adam, the former head of the Bavarian Tourist Board, who then left as managing director in March because of a personality clash with Bogner.

Schwank said: "The thoughts of the entire Munich 2018 Bid Committee are with Willy.

"We all wish him well for his recuperation.

"I am looking forward to the new challenge ahead.

"I am convinced our strong team will pull together and submit a strong, sustainable and friendly concept to the IOC."

Witt echoed Schwank's sentiments.

She said: "Having spoken with a number of IOC members over the past weeks, I am positive that Willy has left the bid in great shape - Munich 2018 is certainly well-respected among many of the key figures in world sport.

"But there is still much work to be done."

The IOC are due to choose the host city at its Session in Durban on July 6, 2011.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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