Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed across French-Speaking Switzerland say they support the idea of bidding to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
An Internet survey conducted by MIS Trend for widely-read L’Illustré magazine from March 9 to 13 revealed that a decisive 66.2 per cent of respondents support a possible Olympic Games in their region while only 22 per cent oppose. Results across seven cantons are consistent and all, even when factoring in the worst margin of error, show over 50 per cent support.
The survey showed that greater support for younger people (71.6 per cent) and less from those over 45 (60.6 per cent). Men (72 per cent) are more supportive than Women (61 per cent).
The results are significant as the Sion 2026 project readies for an expected approval from the Swiss sport authority April 11 ahead of an official application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) expected early next year. A full referendum will be required to back the campaign and will likely be held later in 2018.
Sion previously bid unsuccessfully for the Games in 1976, 2002 and 2006. Switzerland hosted the Winter Games in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948.
Last month another Swiss candidate led by Davos was forced to drop from the race after nearly 60 per cent voted against the project in a general referendum. Those results are more consistent with a general recent push back across Europe for hosting the Games.
For the 2022 Winter Games bids from Krakow, Munich and Davos lost referendums, ending their Olympic aspirations – and for the 2024 Summer Games Hamburg pulled out after narrowly losing a vote and last month Budapest withdrew when an opposition group forced a referendum, but the government didn’t want to spend political capital to defend it.
On Tuesday a poll was released in Canada showing that about 61 per cent support a bid by Calgary for the 2026 Games. Both positive poll results will be welcoming for the IOC who are battling a downward-spiraling confidence level from the general public over the prospects of hosting the Olympics. Overspending, corruption and questionable legacies from the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Games have fueled the general mood that has decimated the number of candidates available in the previous two bid races.
For 2024 Olympic Games, only Los Angeles and Paris remain bidding out of an original five applicants – and the IOC is considering awarding both cities the next two Games rather than risk a sparse applicant field for 2028.
But interest for the 2026 Games is picking up. If Sion gets the nod from Swiss authorities it could face a large international filed of applicants. Along with Calgary, other possible bidders including former Winter Games hosts Innsbruck and Sapporo, a city in Sweden, Erzurum in Turkey as well as 2022 runner-up Almaty in Kazakhstan are said to be investigating campaigns.
The IOC is expected to elect the host city in 2019.