PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Wanted: A city to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Getting bidders for the Olympics used to be easy. But no longer, and particularly for the Winter Games.
Six European cities pulled out of official bids or possible bids when the IOC sought candidates a few years ago for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Cities balked over soaring costs, political unrest or a lack of public support as expressed in referendums.
That left the IOC with only two proposals, both from authoritarian governments that backed cities devoid of winter sports traditions: Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China.
Beijing narrowly won, but that set off alarms at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“The 2022 (bidding) certainly highlighted the problems we were facing in attracting cities, particularly winter cities,” IOC member and former vice president John Coates said. “We had to do something to address the cost of the games. Increased costs have forced our hand.”
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Coates said the International Olympic Committee is doing a “total rethink” over the way the games are presented to potential bidders, and how they’re sold to the public.
The Switzerland-based Olympic body is trying to rebrand, billing itself as user friendly and at the service of host cities — and not the other way around. Officials are talking up flexibility and cost cutting, trying to change the IOC’s image of pressuring cities to build new sports venues that quickly become unused “white elephants.”
Four cities have shown preliminary interest for 2026: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Sapporo, Japan. Calgary and Sapporo have hosted previous Winter Olympics, and Stockholm held the Summer Olympics in 1912. Sweden has never held the Winter Olympics.
“We are saying, come around and dialogue with us,” said Christophe …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports