April 15 - Successful competitors from the Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver have attended a special celebratory reception in Munich where they were hailed as "fantastic ambassadors" by Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (pictured centre) for the city's bid to host the Games in 2018.

Seehofer honoured Maria Riesch, who won two gold medals in Whistler in the super combined and slalom, Anja Huber, who finished third in the skeleton behind Britain's Amy Williams, and Gerd Gradwohl, who claimed the bronze in the downhill visually impaired at the Paralympics, at the reception held in the Emperor’s Hall at the Munich Residenz.

Seehofer said: "We are celebrating fantastic ambassadors for Bavaria who were the perfect standard bearers for our 2018 bid, in front of sports fans worldwide, during the Vancouver Games.

"We want to make it clear that sport is a powerful and unifying social tool, a fascinating  force that brings us together and makes us stronger."

The medallists were joined at the reception by Thomas Bach, President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), Willy Bogner, the chief executive of Munich 2018, and celebrity ambassadors and supporters, including luge legend, Georg Hackl, winner of five Olympic medals, including three gold, and Markus Wasmeier, who won the giant slalom and Super-G at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehamer.

Bogner said: "We are very grateful to the Bavarian State Chancellery.

"By hosting this reception they have shown how important the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are to Bavaria.

"We have received full support from the Bavarian State Government throughout the application process, particularly from Prime Minister Seehofer.

"The stakeholder team is working well together."

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