Swedish bid to host 2026 games in jeop­ardy

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING -

STOCK­HOLM » Stock­holm’s bid to host the 2026 Olympics is at risk only three days af­ter the IOC for­mally ap­proved the city among three can­di­dates.

A new coali­tion deal an­nounced Fri­day to run Stock­holm’s city govern­ment, be­tween a cen­ter­right al­liance and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, re­quires no tax­payer fund­ing for a Win­ter Games.

“The start­ing point for all our par­ties has been to en­sure that a Win­ter Olympics should not be on the tax­pay­ers to pay for it,” coali­tion mem­ber Karin Ern­lund said.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee said Fri­day it had “not yet had any of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion of the de­ci­sion.”

Stock­holm’s bid team said it will open a “di­a­logue” with the new coali­tion to share its plans for host­ing the Olympics.

“The cam­paign con­tin­ues as be­fore,” the bid team said in a state­ment re­leased late Fri­day.

“Our bid is strong, our bud­get is strong, and it is 100 per­cent pri­vately fi­nanced — no tax­payer funds,” it added. “We be­lieve this ap­proach is tailor­made for the IOC’s new re­al­ity go­ing for­ward. Stock­holm 2026 will set new stan­dards in ev­ery as­pect of sus­tain­abil­ity, not only for our Games, but for Win­ter Games there­after.”

If Stock­holm drops out, the IOC will be left with Cal­gary, Canada, and the com­bined Ital­ian bid of Mi­lan and Cortina d’Am­pezzo.

A vote of IOC mem­bers is sched­uled in June, the Olympic body said Tues­day when for­mal­iz­ing the 2026 con­test, though there is un­cer­tainty for the en­tire field.

Cal­gary’s bid faces a Nov. 13 ref­er­en­dum, and full govern­ment sup­port is also not guar­an­teed in Italy.

Amid wide­spread pub­lic con­cern at Olympic host­ing costs, IOC vice pres­i­dent Juan An­to­nio Sa­ma­ranch Jr. said this week: “We have to make a huge ef­fort in ex­plain­ing our­selves bet­ter.”

Stock­holm could re­turn for a bid for 2030 or be­yond, city law­mak­ers said.

“It is miss­ing a clear ba­sis for a Win­ter Olympics right now,” said Anna Konig Jerlmyr of Swe­den’s Mod­er­ate party, “but every­one wants to have it in the fu­ture so the ques­tion is when.”

Hy­oung Chang, The Den­ver Post

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