With the global campaign in its final weeks, the three cities vying for the 2018 Winter Olympics get the chance Wednesday to make their case directly to the IOC voters.
Bid leaders from Pyeongchang, South Korea; Munich; and Annecy, France, will be hoping to pick up the same kind of boost that sent Rio de Janeiro to victory in the race for the 2016 Summer Games.
More than 80 International Olympic Committee members are expected to attend the closed-door presentations and question-and-answer sessions at the Olympic Museum. On Thursday, the members can visit the bid cities' exhibition rooms at a Lausanne hotel.
The briefing comes less than two months before the IOC selects the 2018 host city by secret ballot at its session in Durban, South Africa, on July 6.
The Lausanne meeting will feature two figure skating greats _ two-time gold medalist Katarina Witt, who chairs the Munich bid, and Kim Yu-na, the reigning Olympic champion who will be part of Pyeongchang's presentation.
Munich's bid received a big boost Tuesday ahead of the presentations when organizers secured the last piece of property needed for the downhill course.
"The properties for the sporting events of the 2018 Winter Games now have been secured 100 percent," said Bernhard Schwank, the chief executive of the Munich bid. "Seven years before possibly staging the games we have an optimal offer for the IOC."
It's the second time the IOC has arranged a special meeting with bid cities ahead of a vote, and the first for Winter Games candidates.
The presentations in 2009 proved to be pivotal in the 2016 race, with Rio gaining a groundswell of support that culminated in victory several months later over Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago.
The dynamics are different this time, with just three candidates in the race and many IOC members coming from countries without a winter sports tradition.
Pyeongchang, bidding for a third consecutive time after narrow defeats in the voting for the 2010 and 2014 Games, has been widely considered the front-runner as it seeks to bring the Winter Games to a new territory in Asia.
Munich, the 1972 Olympic host which is seeking to become the first city to stage both summer and winter games, has been seen as the main challenger, while Annecy appeared to be lagging behind. The French bid may have the most to gain from this week's meetings.
"It's a much closer race that people believed that it would be because the Annecy bid has improved dramatically to make it a contender," British IOC member Craig Reedie told The Associated Press.
"Munich offers the safety of a big city and enormous degree of support from the history of winter sport in that part of the world, and Pyeongchang are bidding for the third time and have delivered practically everything the IOC have asked them to do."
Rio used the 2009 meeting to underline its economic strength and unveiled a world map that showed where all previous Summer Olympics have been held _ with an empty spot for all of South America. It was crucial in convincing IOC members to send the games to the continent for the first time.
"What happened last time was the ultimate winners performed wonderfully well here," Reedie said. "The projection of the world map ... was a masterpiece of public relations. To get everybody in the room and say, `Look at where it's been before and where it's never been.' Everybody says, `Wow, we haven't thought of that.'"
Wednesday's presentations come a week after the release of a 119-page report on the cities by the IOC evaluation commission. The highly technical report said all three cities could successfully host the games. By contrast, this week's meetings should give voters a better feel for the contenders.
"I would think Pyeongchang and Munich would not want to slip up in any way, but I think it gives Annecy a platform to show that they are well organized and that they actually have everybody behind them, which I suspect other people believe is not the case," Reedie said.
The IOC's evaluation report cited a survey showing a 51 percent approval rating in Annecy for the bid, with 63 percent in the Rhones-Alpes region and 62 percent nationally. The report cited 92 percent backing in Pyeongchang, 87 percent in Gangwong Province and 87 percent across South Korea. Munich had 60 percent support in the city, 53 percent in Bavaria and 56 percent nationally.